Archive for January, 2009

source: Mmegi

Police Commissioner Thebeyame Tsimako hopes the three recently delivered AS 350 83 helicopters will go a long way in improving the Botswana Police Service operations like anti-motor vehicle hijackings, traffic surveillance, public order maintenance, search and rescue missions.

Tshimako was speaking at the end of a “20km walk for development” held to raise funds for the construction of a shelter (leobo) at the Mathangwane Village Kgotla last Saturday.

The police chief said as the helicopters are not enough to cover the entire country, it is “operationally viable that at first, they should mostly cover crime-prone areas” and attend to other regions on a call-out basis.

He said they are currently engaged in training operational personnel to prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead.

In regard to the fund-raising walk, Tshimako applauded residents of Mathangwane Village in the Central District, for demonstrating the spirit of self-reliance to develop their [continue reading]

source: Chronicle

Botswana finally saw the light as they sung the same song with the rest of the SADC bloc at the end of the regional meeting’s extraordinary summit held in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday.

Our neighbours have in recent months taken a strange stance, either boycotting or opposing whatever resolution was reached by the 15-member regional bloc, particularly on issues to do with the all-inclusive government in Zimbabwe.

However, Botswana President Ian Khama did not boycott the latest summit and he was also modest enough to share the same sentiments with the rest of the presidents from SADC that a unity government must be put in place in Zimbabwe with President Mugabe at the helm.

He appeared to have closed ranks with fellow neighbours when he [continue reading]

source: BBC News

More than 60,000 people in Zimbabwe have now been infected by cholera, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

This figure had been described by the UN’s health agency and other agencies as being the “worst case scenario” in the epidemic which broke out in August.

Cholera has now claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people in Zimbabwe.

The epidemic of the disease, which broke out in August 2008, has been fuelled by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s water, sanitation and health systems.

Many hospitals have [continue reading]

source: News24
30/01/2009 10:35 – (SA)

Johannesburg – The cholera outbreak in southern Limpopo and central Mpumalanga is the result of poor service delivery and has nothing to do with the cholera crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, the Mail and Guardian reported on Friday.

“Municipalities are simply not doing enough to provide clean water and safe sanitation in this country,” said Jonathan Timm, spokesperson for Mvula Trust, the country’s biggest non-governmental organisation focusing on water issues.

“Rural communities are being forced to use water that has been contaminated with human waste. Human faeces are landing up in our rivers and, because municipalities are failing to provide piped water, communities are forced to drink river water.

“The cholera outbreak is directly linked to this problem. And even if we beat the [continue reading]

AU boss warns on Obama

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

ADDIS ABABA: The AU Commission chairman, Jean Ping has warned Africans against placing too much hope on new US President Barrack Obama. Ping said that though Obama is an African-American, he is primarily a president of the US. “He was voted in by the American people to defend US interests. He is the US president,” he warned.

However, Ping asserted at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa in an address to journalists that there is hope for better Africa-US relations because of the new presidency of Obama.

Ping said Obama brings a new orientation and an approach to issues of concern to both the US and Africa. He asserted that the new president promises to be much more in touch with issues of concern.

Ping was speaking during his monthly media briefing. He said it is not just Africa that has put so much hope in Obama but the rest of the world.

“We are proud that Obama is a son of the African diaspora, which is the sixth region of the African Union,” he said. He added that Africa and the US share many issues of [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
30 January 2009

The MDC national executive on Friday backed party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s decision to join a unity government with Robert Mugabe, in a move that has already prompted a flurry of opposing responses.

The power sharing agreement that was signed last year between the MDC and ZANU PF has been argued by some as the best possible solution to the devastating crises ravaging the country. The economy has completely collapsed under the weight of hyperinflation and the local dollar has been dropped in favour of foreign currency. At the same time, critical infrastructure has collapsed and basic services have disappeared, leaving diseases such as the cholera epidemic to rampage across the country unchecked. Officially more than 3000 people have died from the disease alone, but with the collapse of the health system, tens of thousands more people have died from other ailments, usually treatable in a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Ten chief executives representing national business associations from 10 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa have this week endorsed four policy positions developed over the past year for common advocacy with their national and regional governments.

The policy papers were endorsed and adopted at the annual conference of the Eastern and Southern Africa Business Membership Organizations (ESA-BMO) Network, taking place in Nairobi, from 27th – 28th January.

Botswana was represented at the conference by BOCCIM’s Deputy Executive Director Norman MoleeleThe conference was officially opened yesterday by Kenya’s Assistant Minister for EAC, Hon. Peter Munya. The policy positions contain recommendations, strategies and activity plans for implementation by members of the Network.

Two regional policy positions were developed on ‘lowering transport costs’ and ‘easing the movement of goods through entry points’ in addition to [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
30 January 2007
By Violet Gonda

Three years ago in March, Roy Bennett left Zimbabwe under cover of darkness, after he was accused of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe. In 2004 he had also spent eight months in jail for pushing ZANU PF’s Patrick Chinamasa in parliament. But on Friday Bennett flew into Zimbabwe from South Africa for the crucial meeting of the MDC National Council, which made the decision to finally form a unity government with ZANU PF and the second MDC formation.

Speaking on the eve of his departure Bennett told SW Radio Africa he was very apprehensive. He said: “To tell you the truth I am scared because I don’t know what faces me on the other side.” But Bennett felt he wanted to be part of this important occasion and also ‘test the sincerity and genuineness of the Mugabe regime.”

And early Friday morning the MDC’s National Treasurer passed through airport security without any [continue reading]

source: News24
Melanie Gosling
January 30 2009 at 09:00AM

PetroSA, which will run out of local gas supplies by 2010, plans to import liquified natural gas (LNG) and pipe it onshore to avoid having to close down its Mossel Bay refinery.

The state-owned company has said that, if South Africa’s dwindling offshore gas supplies forced it to close, it would have a serious impact on the economy of the Mossel Bay region and result in the loss of about 1 800 jobs.

The company proposes to build a floating liquified natural gas facility offshore to process the imported supplies, and then pipe it onshore to the refinery.

It is looking at several locations, but the preferred option is to use the existing pipeline at Vleesbaai, a relatively undeveloped southern Cape bay near Mossel Bay.

The proposal has alarmed residents of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

HOT SEAT interview: Journalist VIOLET GONDA interviews Phandu Skelemani the Foreign Minister of Botswana. (Transcript of a SW Radio Africa broadcast on January 23, 2009)

Violet Gonda: Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the Botswana Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani on the programme Hot Seat, talking about Botswana’s position on the crisis in Zimbabwe. On Monday, SADC is holding (held) an emergency summit on Zimbabwe in South Africa, so I first asked what we expect from the regional body in light of this upcoming meeting.

Phandu Skelemani: We hope that this time around both the Zimbabweans and SADC will take a firm stance and once and for all resolve what appears now to be a problem which is just dragging on. So we look forward to a firm resolution with SADC telling the rest of the Zimbabweans particularly the leadership that enough is enough. They must form a government at least; otherwise they should go back to the people and hold a ballot box.

VG: Right, what has been your assessment though, if you can just briefly tell us [continue reading]

source: BOPA
29 January, 2009

GABORONE – The Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mrs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has assured the state media and public relations (PR) practitioners of free information flow .

Mrs Venson-Moitoi assured her audience that measures would be put in place to allow for easy communication between the PR practitioners and the journalists.

She also appealed to all ministries “to give us contacts” so that they could be reached when “we need information in my ministry.” The Minister advised the government public relations officers to stop buying time by asking the journalists to submit questionnaires.

Mrs Venson-Moitoi also urged the government public relations practitioners that they should be very conversant with the work of their ministries and departments in order to disseminate relevant information.

She also warned media practitioners that an era in which they were spoon-fed with information and speeches had elapsed. “Journalists will have to listen very carefully when [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
29 January 2009

The government has for the first time acknowledged that the Zimbabwe dollar has no value, after acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, on Thursday detailed the country’s budget proposal in the US greenback.

The proposal, which will officially pave the way for the disappearance of the local currency in trading, will make dealing in multiple currencies legal for all Zimbabweans, in theory to curb hyperinflation. The inflation rate is the highest in the world and has seen the local dollar crumble to its current worthless position. The economy has for weeks been informally ‘dollarised’ with almost all sectors trading in US dollars, and the new budget proposal has made the move official.

Analysts from South Africa’s Standard Bank had said the official dollarisation of the Zimbabwean economy would be confirmed if taxes and duties were charged in forex – an action that has now been drafted in the new budget proposal.

SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent, Simon Muchemwa, explained on Thursday that US$1.9 billion has been proposed for ministerial allocation, with the majority of the money being set aside for [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
29 January 2009

The decision making body of the MDC, the National Council, is widely expected to agree in favour of joining a unity government, as outlined by Monday’s SADC summit on Zimbabwe.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has reportedly agreed in principle to join the inclusive government, subject to the resolution of outstanding issues that he described as ‘work in progress.’ Negotiators from the three parties were expected to meet late Thursday to resolve some of these issues.

Briefing party supporters and journalists soon after arrival at the Harare International Airport yesterday, Tsvangirai said: ‘It’s a historic decision and I hope the party will be united in ensuring that we respond to the needs on the ground and people’s expectations,’ he said. Newsreel spoke to several MDC MPs who all confirmed Friday’s meeting of the 124-member body was just a formality, as Tsvangirai was expected to receive the full backing of the national council.

‘We met last week and said we will only join when some of our demands are met. Look, Mugabe gave concessions to three out of five of our demands. In any negotiation, you win some and lose some,’ an [continue reading]

source: BOPA
29 January, 2009

LOBATSE – An official of the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) in Lobatse, Mr Khoahla Pheko has challenged the residents to fully participate in the development of the town.

Speaking during the commemoration of World Habitat Day over the weekend, Mr Pheko said the Village Development Committee (VDC), councillors, parents and youth have a duty to make Lobatse a habitable place.

“Each resident has a right to live in a decent environment with access to basic services and resources,” he said.

Mr Pheko said given the imbalances of society, there can never be harmony if large sections of the population are deprived of the basic needs while other sections live in opulence.

“Income inequalities within cities do not only threaten the harmony of cities but of countries as well, as [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

FRANCISTOWN: The Francistown City Council is on the verge of taking action against those who have illegally turned their houses into lodges.

FCC public health specialist, Dr Paul Nashara said on Tuesday morning that they will take action to deal with the problem by the weekend.

He said his team has been conducting a house-to-house survey and they realised some households accommodate an unacceptable number of people.

Most of the people accommodated in these houses are Zimbabweans who come to Francistown, either to look for jobs or to do shopping.

“The situation cannot be left to go on forever.

The problem is that having so many people in one place poses danger to not only the occupants but also [continue reading]