Archive for December, 2008

source: allAfrica
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (Harare)
26 December 2008
press release

On 24 December 2008 eight (8) of the current total of thirty-two (32) individuals abducted over the last seven (7) weeks were brought to the Magistrates’ Court in Harare under armed guard. These individuals were Jestina Mukoko, Broderick Takawira, Violet Mupfuranhehwe, Fidelis Chiramba, Collen Mutemagau, Concillia Chinanzvavana, Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, and Pieta Kaseke. Also present was the two-year old minor, Nigel Mutemagau, who has been missing all along as he was with his parents (Violet Mupfuranhehwe and Collen Mutemagau), when they were unlawfully abducted on 30 October 2008.

Investigating Officer Chief Superintendent Magwenzi (who was present throughout the day at the Magistrates’ Court) refused to [continue reading]

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BCL lays off 348

source: BOPA
24 December, 2008

SELEBI-PHIKWE – The BCL copper nickel mine in Selebi Phikwe will lay off 348 employees by the end of February next year due to loss of profit arising from the current global economic recession.

BCL Mine General Manager, Mr Montwedi Mphathi told a media briefing that though they will explore other avenues to sustain the company, labour which accounts for 40 per cent of their total production cost, will no doubt be affected.

Mr Mphathi said the retrenchment exercise, which is but part of other strategies to sustain the company, would start with the voluntary retirement option in which employees who are expected to retire next year, are asked to retire early.

Referring to the economic crunch and the declining prices, Mr Mphathi said nickel prices have fallen sharply from about US$23 last year to US$12.50 this year.

Since September, prices have fallen to about US$4.85 representing a [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: December 25, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Desmond Tutu threw the moral weight of his Nobel Peace Prize and war on apartheid into the Zimbabwe struggle, suggesting it was time to threaten President Robert Mugabe’s ouster by force. The retired South African archbishop also criticized his own government’s handling of the crisis.

The comments came as the government of President Robert Mugabe brought a missing Zimbabwean human rights activist to court Wednesday, accusing her and at least six others of plotting to overthrow the 84-year-old leader. The activist, Jestina Mukoko, disappeared Dec. 3 following nationwide protests against the country’s deepening economic and health crises.

Charging Mukoko, the respected leader of a group known as the Zimbabwe Peace Project, in a plot already widely dismissed as a fabrication is seen as a sign Mugabe is not prepared to back down.

In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. aired Wednesday, Tutu called on Mugabe to relinquish power and said he was ashamed of his own country, South Africa, for its handling of the issue.

“We have betrayed our legacy. How much more suffering is [continue reading]

source: BOPA
23 December, 2008

PALAPYE – In an effort to extend its communication and technological benefits to its customers, Orange Botswana recently launched Livebox technology in Palapye.

Orange Botswana’s Public Relations Manager, Mr Karabo Tlhabiwe said that the introduction of the Livebox comes after its successful launch for Gaborone and surrounding areas.

Mr Tlhabiwe said the Livebox technology is a super fast broadband connection with a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
MONKAGEDI GAOTLHOBOGWE
Staff Writer

The Botswana Democratic Party is today (Tuesday) expected to announce a re-run in the Serowe South parliamentary constituency following a successful appeal by challenger Tebelelo Seretse.

BDP sources say the Appeal’s cCated on the matter over the weekend and ruled in favour of the challenger who garnered 1917 votes against the incumbent Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s 2697 votes in the August BDP primaries, also known as Bulela Di Tswe.

By press time yesterday, members of the BDP’s Central Committee had started to converge on Gaborone for the Tuesday meeting where they will receive the appeal’s committee’s verdict.

It is anticipated that upon receiving the appeal’s committee’s ruling, the [continue reading]

source: News24
24/12/2008 22:07 – (SA)

Johannesburg – Ten people were being tested for cholera in the Zululand and Umzinyathi districts, the KwaZulu-Natal health department said on Wednesday.

Only two cholera cases had been confirmed in the province so far, said department spokesperson Chris Maxon. One of the people infected died in November, he said.

The 10 people being tested were among 150 admitted to [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
Reuters
Published: December 24, 2008
By MacDonald Dzirutwe

A Zimbabwean High Court judge ordered the immediate release on Wednesday of local human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko and nine other activists charged with plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Mukoko, a former newscaster who headed the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was picked up at gunpoint in Harare on December 3. If found guilty the activists could face the death penalty, lawyers said.

Judge Yunus Omarjee ordered police to release 32 activists in total, including Mukoko and the other nine accused. Police deny having 11 of the 32 activists in their custody.

“Their continued detention by whosoever is holding them be and is [continue reading]

source: BOPA
23 December, 2008

GABORONE – Botswana has expressed appreciation to the Chinese government’s continued provision of development loans to the country at affordable rates.

Speaking at the signing ceremony for a loan worth more than P22 million in Gaborone, finance minister, Mr Baledzi Gaolatlhe thanked China for the soft loan facility which was payable in 20 years and had a grace period of 10 years.

He said the interest free loan was not the first of its kind as the Chinese had availed such loans in the past to be utilised to implement projects agreed upon through consultations between the two countries.

“We have benefited from China in development projects such as building rail roads, schools and technical assistance in the form of doctors and other [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info
Craig Urquhart
24 December 2008

What a long, strange year it has been. South Africa’s preparations for the 2010 Fifa World Cup have been marked by extraordinary highs and lows.

Nobody said it was going to be easy, and for South Africa, gearing to host the biggest single-code sporting event on the planet, 2008 has certainly proved to be more than a litmus test.

The Project 2010 column: Craig Urquhart Apart from the labour disputes, spiralling construction costs and political in-fighting that are part and parcel of preparing for an event of this magnitude, there were plenty of other issues.

Xenophobia, widespread power cuts, the resignation of President Thabo Mbeki and a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe were just some of the distractions organisers of the tournament had to contend with.

And yet, there was much to draw hope and inspiration from.

The grinding machinery tasked with building and renovating stadiums in all 10 host cities as well as [continue reading]

source: BOPA
23 December, 2008

PALAPYE: – The repaired fourth Morupule Power Station transformer is expected to lead to the improvement in the power generation capacity of the power station.

Morupule Power Station Production Manager, Mr Mphee Ratshee said in an interview that the transformer which ceased operation last year was sent to South Africa for repair, is now back to Morupule.

Mr Ratshee indicated that the return of the repaired transformer would increase the number of the power station’s transformers to five. He indicated that after the transformer became dysfunctional last year they decided to buy a replacement transformer from Tati-Nickel.

“After the fourth transformer ceased operation last year we then decided to buy a transformer from Tati-Nickel and we have been using the Tati-Nickel one as a replacement to the dysfunctional one.” He added the dysfunction of the repaired transformer was a blessing in disguise as it helped them to find an alternative, which is bearing fruits.

“You should remember that the rehabilitation or repair of the transformer took four months and if we did not find an [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

2008 was an eventful year that was characterised by events and failures that altered the economy of this country. New words such as load shedding, credit crunch and sightholders dominated business pages. Mmegi Staff Writer WANETSHA MOSINYI looks at some of these

* BPC plunges the country into darkness
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) this year plunged the country into darkness with their now infamous ‘load shedding’.

The power shortages had a ripple effect on the economy as production at mines, factories and business came to a halt. Botswana imports 75 percent of its power needs from the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP), most of it from Eskom.

If it were according to South Africa’s largest trade union, COSATU, and other pressure groups, Eskom would have stopped supplying Botswana long ago. We agree with you PHK, “we were caught napping” on this one.

*Russians ‘steal’ Activox?
“The Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources regrets the suspension of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
22 December 2008

Dakar — The world’s most clinically advanced malaria vaccine trials have given new hope in the fight against the disease, which in sub-Saharan Africa kills a child every 30 seconds.

Malaria experts recently meeting in the Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou say promising vaccine research aside, governments in West Africa must step up existing measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Results published on 11 December in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the vaccine candidate RTS,S/AS (made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Biologicals), provides both infants and young children with significant protection against malaria.

“We are closer than ever before to developing a malaria vaccine,” said Christian Loucq, director of PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), the organisation coordinating the global effort.

The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership says malaria is the leading cause of death of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

It has been a hectic year at the Ministry of Education. Students have died abroad, and the minister has not escaped allegations of indescretion, and failure to recognise conflict of interest in his private and political dealings. From Mmegi’s education desk,

The Ministry of Education started the year on a low note when senior students at Moeding College gave the new students sleepless nights on their arrival. They were accused of shaving the pubic hair of other students, burning their wigs and forcing their victims to inhale the smoke.

All Form Fives were suspended and instructed to return to school with their parents. They were required to anonymously write down the names of those they witnessed bullying the new students.

Twenty-two Francistown Senior Secondary School students were last week sent home after [continue reading]

source: Diamonds.net
By Avi Krawitz Posted: 12/22/08 11:39
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RAPAPORT… De Beers has put most of its global mining operations on hold for a month beginning mid-December as the company takes an extended vacation due to the slump in demand for rough diamonds. In South Africa, De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) spokesperson Tom Tweedy said the company basically doubled its Christmas break, suspending operations from December 15 until January 12, give or take a few days depending on the mine. Tweedy noted that as operations start up again in mid-January, the company would reassess its production plan for the first half of 2009. Similarly, Debswana, the De Beers joint venture with the Botswana government, will close its mines on December 25 through January 23, spokesperson Esther Kanaimba said.

In a statement sent to Rapaport News, Namdeb, De Beers’ Namibia mining subsidiary, explained that some of its mine sites have been reduced to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Chandapiwa Baputaki
Staff Writer

Members of the public have been advised to constantly wash their hands to prevent contracting cholera while in Zimbabwe where the disease is decimating the people, they have been warned to refrain from shaking hands.

With the Christmas holidays upon us half a million Zimbabweans staying in Botswana legally and illegally would be travelling back home. Even though it does not mean that all of them will be at risk of contracting cholera, some people still panic.

Almost 90 percent of the residences in Botswana stay with a Zimbabwean or work with one who will be travelling home this festive season. The question is whether Batswana would be at risk when the Zimbabweans return from Christmas and New Year holidays next month.

The Ministry of Health stated this week that they are [continue reading]