Archive for August 8th, 2008

source: BOPA
07 August, 2008

PARLIAMENT – Construction of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) is being undertaken in two phases, says the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Mr Jacob Nkate.

Answering a question in Parliament, he said phase one was developed through the design-and-build approach, and was fully funded by government.

“The original enrolment date was 2007 and the latest construction completion date for the founding development is December 2010 for enrolment by March 2011,” he said.

Mr Nkate said tenders for the founding development were running, but added that it must be borne in mind that the build-and-design project required more time for bidders to prepare their designs before submission.

He said the second phase, which was the main campus development, would be [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

All the 50 traffic numerators in the department of roads face an uncertain future because they will soon be replaced by computers.

The workers have approached the National Amalgamated Parastatal, Local and Central Government Manual Workers Union to fight for them. The union’s organising secretary, Johnson Motshwarakgole confirmed on Wednesday that they have started talks with the roads department and the ministry management about the issue. “The workers came to us. We said there is no way they can be told that their job has become redundant and they should look for other jobs. That would be tantamount to voluntary transfers. Our agreement with government is that [continue reading]

source: BOPA
06 August, 2008

PARLIAMENT – The Minister for Defence, Justice and Security says he is aware that the English, which is used in the drafting of the Constitution of Botswana and other laws, might be overly legalistic, technical and complicated and therefore beyond the comprehension of the overwhelming majority of Batswana.

Mr Dikgakgamatso Seretse said given that Setswana is the national language, which is widely used throughout the country, consideration will be made in the first quarter of the National Development Plan 10 (NDP 10) to produce popular-versions of the Constitution in Setswana.

He said as for other laws, consideration for their translation into Setswana will be made after monitoring the success or [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Specially elected MP Botsalo Ntuane has described the Mass Media Practitioners’ Bill as a threat to Botswana’s democracy and international image.

The Bill was presented to Parliament by the Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi. The Bill gives the minister powers to dictate the operations of the private press and this has not gone down well with the media and some MPs. In a lengthy contribution yesterday, Ntuane said that the Bill threatens the fundamental elements of democracy like the freedom of expression, under which the liberal democratic society of Botswana was founded. He cautioned that the proposed law will be a reversal of what Botswana has achieved since independence. “This law is a departure from our democratic principles on which Botswana was founded,” he said. The MP urged his colleagues and government to come up with laws that will assist the media to grow and maintain the status of Botswana as a liberal and credible democracy. The assertive MP has found himself in trouble with his party for speaking his mind. He said sections of the Bill that give the minister powers to appoint and dissolve a media complaints and appeals committee is unfair. He said that the minister’s interference will kill the spirit of [continue reading]

source: BOPA
06 August, 2008

The Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Daniel Kwelagobe, has told Parliament that it was not prudent to depart from the unitary salary structure because it was determined by the Peterson decision band system of job evaluation, which are currently used to grade public service jobs.

He said the system ensures equity of grading of jobs across the public service. The MP for Gaborone South, Mr Akanyang Magama, had asked the minister whether he did not consider it prudent to depart from the current unitary salary structure for the public service and adopt a pay structure, which reflected the peculiar nature of employment in the public service, as a strategy to attract and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Fuel prices are likely to be slashed this month when government undertakes its monthly reviews.

The anticipated relief will come in the wake of what has variously been described as “tumbling” global oil prices.

The global price of crude oil has dropped from the record US $145 per barrel to US $135. By yesterday it had reached the $118 per barrel level.

Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources spokesperson, Doreen Motshegwa, confirmed that “the prices are going down, especially in the Middle East. As you are aware, we do our fuel price reviews on a monthly basis. Our relevant officers are working on the modalities, and the results will be announced sometime this month.”

South Africa yesterday announced petrol price reduction of 27 cents per litre while diesel decreased by 16 cents per litre. There are suggestions that [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
7 August 2008
Posted to the web 7 August 2008

Negotiations for a power sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe’s government and Zimbabwe’s main opposition parties have nearly been concluded, people involved in the talks told IRIN.

An agreement is expected to be signed in the next few days between both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the ruling ZANU-PF party, which has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

The parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 21 July, which paved the way for talks and committed the negotiators to a news blackout. However, speaking on condition of anonymity, a negotiator said: “We are just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. We should be forming a government in which we will be sharing power within the next few days.”

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main MDC faction, is expected to return to Zimbabwe from South Africa, where [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Parliament on Tuesday approved the loan P124 million entered into between the Botswana government and the OPEC Fund for International Development for the upgrading and expansion of Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.

Government intends to build a state-of-the-arts terminal building to the tune of P400 million that will accommodate approximately 450 people. The runway will also be extended from 3000m – 4000m to cater for large aircraft.

However, mystery still remains as to which section of the Finance and Audit Act empowers the finance minister to enter into such loan agreements with foreign financiers. Assistant Minister Guma Moyo acknowledged that there was need for clarity on the country’s laws. He however maintained that it was the mandate of Parliament, as oversight institution, to debate matters pertaining to funding of government projects. During the debate, Member of Parliament (MP) for Lobatse Nehemiah Modubule challenged the minister to specify which section of [continue reading]

source: BOPA
06 August, 2008

The Ministry of Agriculture has started a livestock water development programme to assist small herd owners in communal areas as part of the Presidents initiatives, says the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Christiaan De Graaff.

He said the exercise began in the Kgalagadi District where unused government boreholes have been identified and would be equipped for farmers to water their livestock as syndicates.

However, he said his ministry had no plans to address the problem of salty water in the Boteti Sub-District or anywhere else in Botswana.

He said funds for the programme came from the Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) programme for [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Violet Gonda
7 August 2008

South African President Thabo Mbeki was expected to meet Zimbabwean political leaders in Harare on Thursday and the red carpet was rolled out for him, but it was rolled up again when Mbeki did not show. Reports now say he is expected at the weekend.

Iden Wetherell, the projects editor of the Zimbabwean Independent and Standard newspapers, said Mbeki’s non arrival indicates that not everything is entirely in place, and wants to be satisfied that there is sufficient consensus. Other reports say the South African leader is waiting for the negotiators to brief their principals. The negotiators for the political parties were heading back to Zimbabwe late Thursday.

And so the confusion over the talks continues – parties are sworn to secrecy, and journalists have the difficult task of putting together pieces of information, that may or may not be true, that are ‘leaked.’

Zimbabwe is in a fragile situation, politically and economically, and the lack of information over these critical talks is potentially very dangerous.

A report doing the rounds claims to be a draft settlement, making Mugabe ceremonial President with Tsvangirai in the position of executive Prime Minister. It also states that those involved in the campaign of violence will have full immunity from prosecution.

But analysts are highly sceptical about the authenticity of this ‘draft’ saying Mugabe is unlikely to accept the role of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Botswana is one the African countries set to receive military assistance from the United States, according to the US’s Budget Request for the 2009 Financial Year released by the White House in February.

The US has allocated the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) about P4 million as part of the global war on terror by President George W. Bush. Botswana and other African countries, will receive arms deliveries and increased military training from the US. The budget request by the US State Department and Defence Department for the financial year 2009 indicates that America will spend about P3.1 billion on military equipment and training in Africa. The budget request is awaiting approval by the US Congress. The other countries included in the military aid are Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda. Among the programmes to be financed under the African phase of the controversial war on terror will be the expansions of [continue reading]