Archive for August 22nd, 2008

source: Financial Mail

Botswana president Ian Khama’s boycott of last week’s regional heads of state summit in Johannesburg – in protest at the presence of Zimbabwe’s illegitimate ruler, Robert Mugabe – sets an important precedent for the Southern African Development Community. He, at least, is prepared to honour in practice the club’s theoretical commitment to democracy and good governance.

It was high time somebody of stature spoke plainly about Zimbabwe. Khama’s decision not to attend unless the leadership impasse in Zimbabwe was resolved cuts across President Thabo Mbeki’s de facto appeasement of the old tyrant in his mediation efforts.

A new-generation leader – and, interestingly, the only one with a conventional military background – has in effect told Mbeki that pressure and diplomacy need not be exclusive and can reinforce each [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

University of Botswana (UB) lecturer, Log Raditlhokwa, says that the Botswana government is distrustful of the country’s intelligentsia so it fails to utilise its intellectual resources to develop the country.

Speaking at an ongoing annual conference on economic policy in Africa, he said that Intellectuals need more space in order to bring their influence to bear on policy making at government level.

Due to the mistrust that exists between government and UB lecturers and other sectors, government is likely to lose their contributions. Government should not be fearful of divergent views, he said.

“There is a huge problem, especially that we have a new president whose approach to government has question marks. The President, due to his popularity, has become an institution within the state. He has become too powerful and if that power was to be shared, it would work well for the country. But due to mistrust of intellectuals, we might see a lot of intellectuals being marginalised,” he said.

He said that the exclusion of intellectuals in the recently appointed Morals Committee is a case in point that government is suspicious of them. “There are capable people like [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)
21 August 2008
Posted to the web 22 August 2008

Botswana Member of Parliament for Mogoditshane, Patrick Masimolole has called upon the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology to drop the Media Practitioners Bill arguing that the proposed law grants too much power to the ministry in interfering with the operations of the media.

Masimolole said he supports other MPs who have urged the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology to consider withholding the bill pending further consultations. The bill seeks to establish a Press Council for Botswana for the purpose of preserving the maintenance of high professional standards within the industry as well as for registering journalists. Only registered journalists would be allowed to work in Botswana. Contributing on the same issue, the MP for Letlhakeng East, Dr. Gordon Mokgwathi, said the news media should be accorded the right to regulate itself through its code of ethics. Dr. Mokgwathi said the proposed bill would give the minister the right to appoint members of crucial committees, which contravenes the principle of self-regulation as desired in news media practice.

He said the fact that government would be financing the activities of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Parliament business had to be halted yesterday afternoon after members failed to form a quorum after the tea break at 4pm.

The few members who were in the House waited for 15 minutes in vain until business of the day was called off. There should be at least 21 MPs in the House to form a quorum.
This is the second incident this year in which Parliament had to adjourn because MPs did not form a quorum. On the 16 November last year then Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe was forced to stop debates because MPs did not form a quorum.

Meanwhile, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has deferred to November further proceedings on the controversial Media Practitioners’ Bill.

In a statement yesterday she said that though the debates were at advanced stage, she found it necessary to give way to other government business.

She said that she was prepared to consult with the media fraternity and all stakeholders on the bill but insisted that she had done extensive consultation with them prior to [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
21 August 2008

The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum has lodged an application with the Southern African Development Community Tribunal in Windhoek, to declare Robert Mugabe’s government illegal and force regional leaders to stop inviting him to their meetings.

Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer who was severely tortured by Mugabe’s regime in 2003, led an urgent application to the tribunal last week seeking to block Mugabe from attending the weekend SADC summit in South Africa as head of state. SADC however failed to respond and Mugabe was welcomed as Zimbabwe’s leader, despite the application and a boycott of the meeting by Botswana’s President Ian Khama, who refused to attend because his government does not recognise Mugabe’s re-election.

The forum has now taken the legal fight further, serving papers on several individuals as well as the tribunal’s head office, in an effort to get Mugabe and his regime officially declared illegitimate. The urgent application was filed against [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

This is a question that had to be answered at a consultative meeting between members of the press and the Presidential Joint Advisory Committee on Social and Moral Values chaired by Batlokwa Kgosi, Puso Gaborone, yesterday.

Other members of the committee are Kgosi Shathani Kgakanyane, Kgosi Seemeko, Kgosi Letlamoreng, Reverend Mpho Moruakgomo, and Moruti Johannes Kgwarapi.

The committee wanted members of the media to share with them what could be the causes of social ills and moral decay among youth, causes of domestic violence, role of parents in child upbringing. The press was invited and to come up with recommendations on what should be done to control the problems. Members of the press expressed shock and disappointment at President Ian Khama’s attitude towards the media in Botswana.

They said it is not fair for politicians to think that there is chaos in the media. They said that in his inaugural speech, the President mentioned the media as a social ill that needs his immediate attention. With documents such as [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Violet Gonda
21 August 2008

The Herald newspaper has come under fire from the Botswana government for publishing what they say is “misleading content” about their position on Zimbabwe. On Thursday the Herald published a report entitled “MDC-T leader lied to us about Zimbabwe situation“.

The paper went on to write: “Leaders from Zambia, Botswana and Tanzania expressed “embarrassment” at having “blindly supported Tsvangirai” during the 28th SADC Heads of State Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg, after South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki, who is facilitating talks between Zimbabwe’s political parties, gave them a full briefing on what was taking place.”

But the Office of the President of Botswana said it is concerned about the misleading article. Botswana said its position, with respect to the political situation in Zimbabwe, has not altered.

Dr. Jeff Ramsay, Coordinator of the Botswana Government Communication Information System, said the article also deceptively attributed certain sentiments to his Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The state mouthpiece claimed Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani, said his analysis of the situation was that Morgan Tsvangirai had misled them on Zimbabwe’s political processes, alleging that the Batswana official said this after he read a report from Thabo Mbeki, to the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Foreign Affairs Minister, Phandu Skelemani, yesterday denied apologising to Robert Mugabe at the recently held SADC Summit in Pretoria, South Africa.

He was responding to a Zimbabwean government controlled newspaper, the Herald, which on Monday reported that Skelemani praised Robert Mugabe’s behaviour in the ongoing negotiations facilitated by South Africa President, Thabo Mbeki.

The paper also attributes quotations to the Botswana foreign minister criticising MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, for being unreasonable during the negotiations.

Skelemani yesterday labelled the Herald’s report as “maaka a matala – blatant lies”.
“It is not our business to praise Mugabe, or anybody. We said the parties are close to reaching an agreement, and so no one should force them to sign as it is not us the SADC membership who is negotiating. It is the Zimbabweans who are negotiating.

“Who am I to declare that [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
21 August 2008

MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti said they will attend the swearing-in ceremony of elected members of parliament and senators next week, although they remain adamant it’s still not yet time to convene parliament because of the inconclusiveness of the power-sharing talks.

Biti told Newsreel from Johannesburg on Thursday that they were going to parliament to defend their mandate, saying they had a problem with convening parliament, but not with the swearing-in of members. Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma said MPs and senators were to be sworn in Monday and Robert Mugabe will open the seventh session on Tuesday.

The MDC said it had not agreed or officially discussed the reconvening of parliament after disputed elections earlier this year, claiming it could endanger the mediation talks. The only time the issue of parliament was brought up was during the closing ceremony of the SADC summit in Johannesburg on Sunday. Incoming SADC chairman, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, said ‘the summit recognised that while negotiations were continuing, it may be necessary to convene Parliament to give effect to the will of the people as expressed in the Parliamentary elections held on 29 March 2008.’

Morgan Tsvangirai told journalists in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday that by convening parliament Mugabe may have decided to abandon the power-sharing talks. ‘If President Mugabe goes ahead to [continue reading]