Archive for June 23rd, 2008

source: International Herald Tribune
By Celia W. Dugger and Barry Bearak
Published: June 23, 2008

JOHANNESBURG: The leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition party sought refuge Monday in the Dutch embassy in the capital, Harare, Dutch government officials said. At the same time, the police raided the opposition’s headquarters in Harare and about 30 people were reported detained.

The latest developments came a day after the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, withdrew from a presidential runoff, scheduled for June 27, saying he could neither participate in “this violent, illegitimate sham of an election process,” nor ask his voters to risk their lives in the face of threats from forces backing President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai had only recently returned to Zimbabwe from South Africa where he had fled over fears for his safety. The Dutch foreign ministry said he had not requested asylum but was welcome to stay overnight at the embassy for his own safety, Reuters reported.

Dutch television reported that Tsvangirai entered the embassy shortly after the raid on his party’s headquarters, according to The Associated Press.

The headquarters had become a safe haven for opponents of Mugabe during weeks of state-sponsored violence. An opposition spokesman, Luke Kamborinyoka, said many people had fled as the raid took place but about 30 people, mainly women and children, were loaded into a bus and taken away to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

A conference on securitisation in the third quarter of 2008 to deliberate on strategies to help the debt market to become more active and liquid is being considered for the third quarter of 2008 by the Botswana Stock Exchange.

Plans for the ‘securitisation’ conference are revealed in the 2007 Annual Report of the BSE in which the CEO of the bourse, Hiran Mendis, says the debt market in Botswana is generally inactive and that liquidity has been extremely low despite high demand for debt instruments.The report says bond issues on the BSE have been over-subscribed in the past few years. It cites the recently concluded government bond offer, which it says was over subscribed by 500 percent.

The report says the main focus of securitisation is to encourage banks and other financial institutions to structure securities, utilising otherwise liquid assets, which can be [continue reading]

source: BBC News

Zimbabwean officials have said a run-off presidential election will go ahead, despite the withdrawal of opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Mr Tsvangirai’s announcement was a ruse – he had not sent a formal notice yet.

Mr Tsvangirai said he would quit to curb violence by ruling party militias he says killed 86 of his supporters.

Another opposition spokesman said a negotiated settlement was the way forward, but violence must stop first.

The Movement for Democratic Change’s Nelson Chamisa said the ruling Zanu-PF’s militias should be disbanded, adding that [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
BuaNews (Tshwane)
23 June 2008
Posted to the web 23 June 2008

Bathandwa Mbola

President Thabo Mbeki remains hopeful that the political leaders in Zimbabwe can still work together to find solutions to the country’s challenges.

This is despite tensions and mixed reactions following the announcement by Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition party (Movement for Democratic Change), that it will no longer participate in the Presidential election run-off which is scheduled for 27 June.

“I would hope that the leadership would still be open for a process which would result in them coming to some agreement about what happens to their country,” commented the Southern African Development Community (SADC) appointed mediator on Sunday.

To address the challenges facing the country, President Mbeki said he would try to encourage that [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
22.06.2008 6:23:02 P

The Central Bank recoiled at the rising fuel induced inflationary pressures on Thursday and adjusted interest rates upward by 50 basis points (half a percent) as part of a global bid by central banks to intervene on weakening global economic systems that threaten to drive the world economy into a recession similar to that last seen in 1970.

In a statement released on Thursday, the bank said the Monetary Policy Committee, which met during the day, decided to increase the bank lending rate —-central bank lending rate to commercial banks —— by 50 bps to 15.5 percent, a move which will stretch-out the end consumers in the coming days as commercial banks respond to the move.
“Since October 2007, inflation trended upwards and has remained above the Bank’s objective range of three-to- six percent, mainly reflecting the global increase in the price of food and oil,” the central bank’s MPC said in a statement.

According to the Central Statistics Office’s consumer price index for the full May month, inflation jumped up by one percent to 12.1 percent against the 11.1 percent recorded at the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

In the high-stakes scramble for customers, only saturation advertising – and coverage – is the limit as Mascom and Orange stalk each other every step of the way. But as WANETSHA MOSINYI asks, will the latest entrant, beMobile, keep up with the Jonses?

The fight for the small but lucrative mobile phone business pie has begun in earnest and it seems the battleground will be won and lost on sporting grounds.

Competition has intensified over the past few months after beMobile joined the fray, ending the two-way scrimmage between old adversaries, Mascom and Orange.

On ‘Super Saturday’ last weekend – so called because it was action-packed countrywide – gave a glimpse of how the mobile phone service providers intend to target customers for at least the near future: by splashing millions of pula on sporting sponsorships, accompanied by saturation adverting in [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
22.06.2008 6:25:35 P

Investec Asset Management of Botswana raised warning bells about the impending upcoming inflation reading which said they should be higher than expected, blaming the whole spike on the energy and food crisis that have afflicted the world.

The forecast by Investec comes at a time when the Bank of Botswana has just tempered with interest rates by adjusting them by 0.5 percent on Thursday evening in a bid to thwart the spiralling inflation rate.

Although the move caught the markets by surprise, they were not shocked by the developments since inflation has been on the rise since the beginning of the fourth quarter of last year.
“The main factors (Food & Oil) that have driven inflation higher over the last couple of months have not abated, in fact, one can argue that they have continued to deteriorate during the month of June.

“The CPI reading of 12.1% was significantly higher than our forecast of 11.5% with food inflation the main culprit. The view we held for the past year on domestic fuel prices was that the subsidies were not sustainable in the face of [continue reading]

source: IOL
June 23 2008 at 08:37AM

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has “not closed the door completely” on a negotiated settlement in the strife-torn country, South Africa’s presidential spokesperson said on Monday.

“We will continue to work together to find a solution to the political challenges in Zimbabwe,” said President Thabo Mbeki’s spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga.

“We’ve also noted that Mr Tsvangirai himself says he is not closing the door completely on the negotiations and we are very, very encouraged by that statement.”

Mbeki travelled to Zimbabwe last week to meet with long-time president Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai in reported attempts to call off the elections and negotiate a government of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

The government has appealed against the temporary relief granted by the High Court for nightclubs to keep operating according to old hours following implementation of the new liquor trading hours.

In May, Lobatse High Court Judge Isaac Lesetedi ruled that nightclubs should continue to operate in accordance with their old licences until September when they expire. The old licences entitled nightclubs to operate between 8 pm and 4.00 am.

This followed an urgent application lodged by nightclub owners after the government imposed new regulations, which stipulate that nightclubs and other liquor outlets should close earlier.

“The conclusion that I reach therefore is that the applicants are, so long as their licences run, entitled to operate within the times specified in their licences; and that such right shall, unless otherwise lawfully revoked earlier, cease with effect from expiry of each of those licences,” Justice Lesetedi had ruled in his judgment in May.

Lesetedi ruled in favour of the nightclubs owners and awarded costs against the government.

But in their urgent appeal subsequently filed with the Court of Appeal, the Attorney General argues that the judge [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
23 June 2008
Posted to the web 23 June 2008

IT is very difficult to disagree with the stand taken by President Levy Mwanawasa, as Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairman. In fact, he must be commended for his action, which is quite uncharacteristic for an African head of state.

What Africans have become accustomed to is leadership which, when faced with recalcitrant colleague, turns a blind eye, or simply refuses to condemn a “fellow African leader”. Dr Mwanawasa’s bold move therefore signals a deep change in attitudes, and for the better.

The situation in Zimbabwe , especially the conduct of elections by the government of President Robert Mugabe, has become a matter of concern for all well meaning people, whether Africans or members of the larger international community.

There was hope when the last elections commenced that, finally, Zimbabwe would hold free and fair elections to put an end to the [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
22.06.2008 5:56:17 P

Tracking down repeat criminals will now take Botswana Police a few hours of clicking on the computer keyboard rather than days rummaging through manual files – thanks to a technological revolution in Botswana’s fight against crime that was unveiled this week.

The long awaited Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which will enhance the swift tracking of criminals by the police, will be supplied by a South African-based French company, Sagem Defense Security.

This follows the conclusion of a P30 million contract agreement between the Commissioner of Police, Thebeyame Tsimako, and Sagem South Africa Managing Director, Philleppe Compagnon.

Currently, Botswana police investigating officer have to plumb vaults of paper files for days or even weeks when searching for criminal records.
The AFIS will put an end to the exhausting and time-consuming manual process that has been in use since 1936.

“AFIS is the most technically advanced system of its kind with the capability to use both fingerprints and palm prints to identify criminals,” said Compagnon.

Kenny Kapinga, Deputy Commissioner of the Botswana Police Services, stated that [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The property market in Botswana is experiencing a boom despite the rise in interest rates, escalating costs of construction materials and the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

‘We are going through a boom right now and I foresee it lasting for the coming three to four years,’ Phakalane Properties Managing Director Lesang Magang said in an interview.

He said unlike South Africa or the United States of America (US) whose property markets are going through a slump because of high interest rates, construction materials and the sub-prime crisis, the Botswana market is flourishing. Magang said Botswana is not much affected by these factors because of renewed confidence in the economy largely due to diamond beneficiation, accelerated government spending and implementation of various mega projects.

He said the market had a pent-up demand over the [continue reading]

source: Sunday Standard
22.06.2008 5:51:49 P

Law agents have uncovered another fraud scam that may have cost the Ministry of Transport and Works close to P20 million.

Information passed to The Sunday Standard reveal that government may have been defrauded of close to P 20 million, by a syndicate of criminals working with public officers.

It has emerged that the criminals connived with public officers and issued ghost government perchance orders, and with other ministry officials who would pay any amount of money that is indicated on the fraudulent GPO.

It is alleged that the discovery came after the bank seized a suspicious cheque which led to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Electricity consumers should brace for another tariff increase following the approval for Eskom to raise its tariffs by another 13.3 percent on top of the 14 percent approved early this year.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa on Wednesday allowed Eskom, which provides over 70 percent of Botswana’s power needs, to recover additional primary energy costs of R2, 83billion through its electricity tariff, which amounted to a 13,3 percent increase.

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has always made it clear that any price increase in SA affects the cost of imports, which along with the cost of local generation, transmission, distribution, and infrastructure must all ultimately be recovered from the end-user.

This means the power utility is likely to lobby government for a further increase in tariffs to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Movement for Democratic Change (Harare)
22 June 2008
Posted to the web 22 June 2008

Morgan Tsvangirai

The MDC won the March 29th elections despite conditions that were far from free and fair. Our party’s message of peaceful, democratic change and rebuilding a New Zimbabwe enjoys the support of the vast majority of Zimbabweans.

Our election victory confirmed this to Mugabe and since that date, he and his supporters have been waging a war against the people of Zimbabwe.

This violent retributive agenda has seen over 200,000 people internally displaced and over 86 MDC supporters killed. Over 20,000 homes have been destroyed and over 10 000 people have been injured and maimed in this orgy of violence.

For the record, there are eight broad reasons why a free and fair election is impossible. Zanu PF has already subverted the run-off through the following:

State Sponsored Violence

The police have been reduced to bystanders while Zanu PF militia commit crimes against [continue reading]