Archive for August 1st, 2008

source: IOL
August 01 2008 at 04:52PM

Johannesburg/Gabarone – The government of Botswana has threatened to boycott an upcoming summit of the 14-country Southern African Development Community (SADC) if controversial Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe attends, South African radio reported Friday.

SAfm radio quoted the foreign ministry of Zimbabwe’s diamond-rich neighbour as saying that taking part in a summit of SADC heads of state on August 14-15 in South Africa attended by Mugabe would be tantamount to recognising him as president.

Botswana has refused to recognise Mugabe’s victory in a one-man June 29 presidential election that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted after a spate of deadly militia attacks on his supporters.

After South Africa, which is home to an estimated 1-3 million mostly undocumented Zimbabweans, the wealthy desert state of Botswana is the neighbouring country of choice for [continue reading]

source: Zimbabwe Independent
Thursday, 31 July 2008 20:30

ZANU PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) negotiators are inching closer to a power-sharing agreement expected to be finalised next week after an intensive round of delicate negotiations.

Informed sources said the talks — officially expected to end on Monday although the deadline looks set to be extended — are taking shape fast and edging towards a deal.

The parties are agreed on almost everything on the agenda except details on the structure of the new government. This includes positions and powers for key leaders, as well as transitional and implementation mechanisms.

While there is no deadlock on the issue, heated debate and consultations are underway on what roles President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai should play in the new government. Tsvangirai only hinted at some “sticking points”.

Yesterday Tsvangirai said he was “fairly satisfied” with the talks.

“I am fairly satisfied, but there are, like in any negotiations, sticking points that need to be unravelled,” Tsvangirai told reporters in Dakar after [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Southern African News Features (Harare)
1 August 2008
Posted to the web 1 August 2008

Kizito Sikuka

The southern African brokered talks between Zimbabwe’s main political parties are progressing well and heading for a successful conclusion, according to the facilitator.

The South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating in the talks, endorsed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union, has praised the negotiators from the ruling ZANU-PF and the two MDC factions saying that they are working within the framework of the Memorandum of Understating (MoU) which was signed a week ago by their three principals.

Part of the agreement, which is expected to be concluded within two weeks of the signing date, includes an undertaking to respect a media blackout during the course of the talks.

Mbeki, who has since met [continue reading]

source: Zimbabwe Independent
Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:40

PRICES of basic commodities increased by an average of 1 300% in July because of high inflation, depressed production and profiteering by some retailers.

The increase means a family that spent $1,723 trillion on July 1 needs $6,8 trillion ($680 revalued) for the same goods as at July 30.

The same family could probably need about $8 trillion ($800) by the end of next week.

This also means the increase in the price of basket essentials surged by an average of 67% every week during the month or about $1,2 trillion ($120), according to the Zimbabwe Independent cost of living index.

The rate at which prices increased during the month jumped alarmingly from 9,5% in January, a 570% rise inside seven months.

There is now a countrywide crisis over supplies of basic commodities and affordability of the few that is available in shops.

Salaries have failed to match the rate at which prices are rising due to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The Botswana Stock Exchange is expected to add six more companies to trade on the Central Securities Depository System (CSD) next month.

The six companies that are expected to start trading on the CSD are Standard Chartered Bank, G4S, RPC Data, ABCH, MRI Botswana and BIHL.Currently there are three companies, trading live on the CSD, namely FNBB, Sefalana and Turnstar. BSE CSD manager Masego Pheto said in an interview that the additional companies are expected to start trading beginning August 18, 2008.

“Since we started trading the three counters in the system,” Pheto said, “it has not given us any problem at all. So our wish is to roll out as many companies as possible in a short space of time.”He said the delay in trading more companies was that transfer secretaries and issuers have not yet agreed on certain contractual terms.

Investors of FNBB, Sefalana and Turnstar had to [continue reading]

source: BOPA
01 August, 2008

GABORONE – Barclays Bank of Botswana has demonstrated its passion and commitment in empowering the communities in which it operates, says former president Mr Festus Mogae.

Speaking at the official launch of the Barclays-F.G. Mogae Scholarship Fund in Gaborone, he said the bank had played a pivotal role in improving the lives of those less fortunate.

“I continued to be amazed by the banks relentless effort and determination to give back, thus helping in making peoples dreams come true.” He said Barclays has made corporate social responsibility a key hallmark of its strategy and that the bank has embedded a culture of giving as part of its corporate generic makeup.

Mr Mogae said the scholarship offered in his name would go a long way in making a lasting impact on the lives of those who would benefit from it.

“The initiative will immensely benefit many who otherwise would not be able to realise their professional dream of attaining a master degree.

“This is a significant milestone in the history of our [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
1 August 2008
Posted to the web 1 August 2008

Ernest Mabuza

THE state won another round in its pretrial litigation battles against African National Congress president Jacob Zuma yesterday when the Constitutional Court dismissed Zuma’s applications to have search warrants used in raids on him and his lawyer declared invalid.

The court also dismissed his plea for the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) request to Mauritian authorities for evidence to be declared invalid.

The stage is now set for next week’s battle in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, where Zuma will challenge the state’s decision to prosecute him.

The NPA welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling, and said that it was ready for trial.

The search warrants issued by [continue reading]

source: BOPA
01 August, 2008

PARLIAMENT – The proposed Local Authorities Procurement and Asset Disposal Bill will increase the accountability of chief executive officers at local council level, says the Assistant Minister of Local Government, Mr Ambrose Masalila.

Debating the proposed bill this week, Mr Masalila said some public officials leak the cost range of projects to bidders.

He also noted that some companies follow particular officers even when they are transferred from one council to another, saying it demonstrates the existence of corruption.

Mr Masalila also criticised the disbursement of mobilisation fees, saying the law should give the government the right to recover the money if the company fails its contractual obligations. Kanye North MP, Mr Calvin Batsile, urged the Minister of Local Government not to overlook the contribution of the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) when framing the law.

He also said chief executive officers of local councils should not be kept at the same place for a long time.

Mr Lebonaamang Mokalake of Boteti South said the [continue reading]

Craig Urquhart
1 August 2008

Not for the first time, the government, the 2010 Local Organising Committee and other key 2010 role-players have had to undertake a damage-control exercise following Fifa President Sepp Blatter’s recent admission that there was after all a “Plan B” in case South Africa was unable to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

But it has taken the comments of two prominent football personalities to help put South Africa back on an even keel in terms of its World Cup preparations.

The Project 2010 column: Craig Urquhart Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is no stranger to these parts; and with the latest edition of the Vodacom Challenge viewed as a key test of this country’s preparations for the World Cup, the local and international media were anxious to hear his take on the 2010 hosts.

The stakes were significantly higher than when United last visited, two years ago, particularly since the three-team contest is now broadcast in 35 countries.

“The organisation has improved since the last time we visited, and the atmosphere has been outstanding,” Ferguson told [continue reading]

source: BOPA
30 July, 2008

GABORONE – The growth of mining around Francistown and the proposed Mmamabula energy project are set to cause considerable demand for water, says minerals, energy and water resources minister, Mr Ponatshego Kedikilwe.

Speaking at the National Water Resources Management Conference yesterday, he said the Botswana Millennium Development Goal report of 2004 identified water scarcity as one of the issues that might present constraints given the rapid increase in domestic and industrial demand for water.

The two-day conference was held under the theme: “Water and Sanitation: An Integrated Approach”. Mr Kedikilwe explained that Botswana was a drought prone country with limited water resources and potential sites for water resources development.

The situation was worsened by low rainfall, limited groundwater recharge and very high evaporation rates. However, he said his ministry was doing all it could to cope through a number of initiatives aimed at improving water supply for the countrys current needs.

He said these included the development of dams and wellfields for augmenting the existing resources. He said Dikgatlhong Dam, which would impound 400 million cubic metres, would cost more than P1.2 billion, while the Water Transfer portion would cost some P4 billion.

The reviewed Lotsane Dam project on the other hand would [continue reading]

source: AFP / Google News
10 hours ago

GABORONE (AFP) — Botswana’s government will next month raise alcohol prices by 70 percent in a bid to curb alcoholism, the office of the newly elected President Ian Khama said Thursday.

“The levy will commence on August 18 and be used for educating the public on the dangers of alcohol abuse, rehabilitation programmes for victims of alcohol abuse and other good causes,” said a statement from the president’s office.

The new tax comes two years after the government of the landlocked southern African country introduced trading curfews for bars, bottle stores and night clubs.

President Khama delivered the latest blow after a series of public meetings around the country where he added that if the 70 percent levy did not prove fruitful, a 100 per cent increase will be considered.

Botswana has [continue reading]

Journalists hang alone

source: Mmegi

Editors of local newspapers have repeated their condemnation of Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s Media Practitioners Bill tabled in parliament this week.

The editor of the Botswana Gazette, Aubrey Lute, says he does not support the Bill in its current form. He says it is aimed at muzzling the media.

He believes that freedom of the press would never be guaranteed once the new law is passed.

He is concerned that journalists will be subjected to jail terms for contravening the law. The proposed law, he said, is going to intimidate journalists.

“I don’t think self-regulation has failed. The media is competent enough to ensure that self-regulation becomes successful,” he said.

Lute said there was need for further consultation with all the stakeholders before the Bill is presented to parliament.

“There is need for further consultations with the media”. He said there are many issues in the Bill that need revisiting.

When it comes to registration, Lute said it is [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

We note with consternation that Minister of Communication Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has chosen the route of force-feeding the nation through the state media, her version of what principles the media stakeholders purportedly agreed to in the new heinous Media Practitioners Bill.

It would have been surprising if Venson-Moitoi did not attack this publication on Wednesday’s, ‘The Eye’ but we were surprised rather by the one-sidedness of the show.

It was but a sham ‘debate’ that the government-owned television station organised for their boss. Venson-Moitoi should know very well that according to journalistic practice, it is unheard of for one party to be the single discussant in a debate that holds several sides, some of them often conflicting. In other words she should have been surprised, as we were, to find that she was expected to explain her position on the Bill, in opposition to the media fraternity’s position, without allowing the latter an opportunity to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
31 July 2008
Posted to the web 31 July 2008

Dumisani Muleya

PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki met Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders yesterday in a bid to secure a crucial power-sharing agreement which is expected to be finalised next week.

Mbeki secured a commitment that negotiations would resume in SA this weekend, enhancing prospects for a deal that could lead to the recovery of Zimbabwe’s shattered economy and mark the beginning of the end of Mugabe’s 28-year rule.

Mbeki said after an hour-long meeting with Mugabe that the talks were proceeding well.

“It is work in progress. The negotiators are working hard and [continue reading]

source: BBC News

Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he hopes President Robert Mugabe will make an “honourable exit” after power-sharing talks.

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4, Mr Tsvangirai said Mr Mugabe was in denial about violence in Zimbabwe.

Government and opposition officials have been holding negotiations at a secret location in South Africa.

The talks, aimed at resolving Zimbabwe’s post-election crisis, are expected to resume on Sunday.

Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) accuses Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party of stealing Zimbabwe’s presidential election.

Talks, which started a week ago after Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai met for the first time in a decade, were halted earlier this [continue reading]