Archive for February 9th, 2009

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwehas sent a strong warning to mining firms that are retrenching workers without following the proper legal channels.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the official opening of the Diamond Technology Park in Gaborone last week, Kedikilwe said though the government understands the plight of the mines, proper consultations and procedures must be followed and permission sought before any workers may be laid off.

“Exhaustive consultations are supposed to be done first when mines are mapping out their survival strategies,” he said. “As Minister, the buck stops with me. It is only after I grant approval that mines can lay off workers.”Kedikilwe’s comments come as thousands of mineworkers find themselves at the coalface of imminent joblessness while their employers battle with the fallout from the [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Institute for War & Peace Reporting (London)
Chipo Sithole
7 February 2009

Harare — Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, seems determined to cling onto his job amid mounting opposition clamour for his removal.

Zimbabwe’s economy cannot recover without outside support but it seems, for as long as Gono is in charge, western donors will be deeply reluctant to fund the new government, in which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe share power.

Asked if Gono’s sacking was a necessary step before aid was released, a prominent western diplomat said, “Everyone knows it is. It’s one of the key indices [of whether Zimbabwe is a fit recipient of aid]. Tsvangirai has said it is one of the first things he will do.”

Analysts believe Gono, 49, has played a central role in the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy.

As controller of the country’s finances since 2003, Gono has played a key role in fundraising for Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF party, printing money with reckless abandon to sustain the Mugabe administration’s profligate spending. As recently as February 2, the central bank knocked 12 zeroes off the local currency and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

A British company, LEK Consulting, is to undertake a strategic mineral market review of Botswana’s mining sector with a view to padding affected mining houses and processing companies against the financial crisis garrotting them.

Working on behalf of the government of Botswana, LEK Consulting will analyse the impact of the global economic slowdown on the country’s mining industry, recommend strategies that could be employed to mitigate the impact and identify possible opportunities.

The practice has been to assist companies on a case-by-case basis looking at a given operation’s contribution to the economy of the country, among other things. In this regard, BCL used to receive emergency funding from the government prior to the commodity boom that preceded the current slump.

“We recently assisted DiamonEx by guaranteeing its P10 million loan last year,” says Nchidzi Mmolawa, the Director of Mineral Affairs in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.

“The economic crisis is so widespread that just about everyone in [continue reading]

source: IOL
February 09 2009 at 08:46AM

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Sunday that neighbouring Zimbabwe, crippled by a record rise in inflation, could adopt the South African rand as its standard currency.

“We have to help them so that the coalition government works,” Motlanthe said in an interview with the SABC channel, referring to power-sharing between President Robert Mugabe and prime minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai.

It “may be practical for them to enter into an arrangement with the reserve bank here and allow the rand to become the common currency,” he added, without fleshing out his suggestion.

Motlanthe also currently serves as president of the Southern African Development Community, which is mediating the crisis.

Prices in Zimbabwe rose by 231 million percent in [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

A hot exchange ensued in Parliament yesterday when the former Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning Guma Moyo sought to assert himself in an uncharacteristic manner and an apparently peeved Minister of Education Jacob Nkate attempted to stop him.

Nkate holds the powerful position of Secretary General of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, which implies bringing ‘errant’ members to order. Moyo, who was dropped from the Cabinet in December, apparently views his ejection from the vortex of power as betrayal, and hence intends to use Parliament as an effective forum.

The stage was set when he said the government had blundered in introducing a 30-percent levy on alcoholic beverages last year because the resulting high prices of the commodities have contributed to inflation.

“We can start low and move up,” he said, and suggested lowering the levy to 10 or even five percent.

Moyo, who is the Member of Parliament for Tati East, was [continue reading]

source: The Standard
Saturday, 07 February 2009 22:53

NAMES of MDC-T officials who are being considered for the cabinet positions emerged for the first time on Saturday.

Sources told The Standard that although MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was still to finalise the selection of his ministers, several potential candidates had already been identified.

The candidates would be considered for the 13 ministries allocated to the MDC-T under the power-sharing agreement. Sources said Tsvangirai wanted the composition of his ministers to reflect the diversity in the MDC-T.

Topping the list of the potential ministers was MDC-T secretary General Tendai Biti.

Information obtained by The Standard showed that Tsvangirai was considering naming Biti as the minister of Home Affairs.

He could however assign him to any other position because nothing had been finalised as yet, the sources said.

Earlier reports had suggested that Biti was not interested in serving in the inclusive government.

However our sources did not expect Biti, who has been the party’s chief negotiator in the talks that led to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

In a twist of events the Botswana Police Commissioner, Thebeyame Tsimako, says he does not know anything about a report on the investigations carried out on torture allegations against Directorate of Intelligence and Security officers.

A few weeks ago the Police Service said they had completed investigations on the officers. Former commander of the Central Police Station, Takongwa Mazwiduma, has told Mmegi that they have finalised their investigations into the allegations and submitted a report “to the relevant authorities”.

However, Tsimako, says he does not know anything about such a report and that his office has not received it. “It could be on its way to our office, but as we speak, we have nothing of the sort in our office,” Tsimako says.

Two soldiers and two policemen have alleged that they were severely beaten and humiliated in a torture chamber at the offices of DIS in Gaborone in October last year.

Mazwiduma, who has since been transferred to [continue reading]

source: Zimbabwe Guardian
Mon, 09 Feb 2009 00:16:00

THE new law on the registration of Media Practitioners in Botswana has been sharply criticised by various media institutions from outside and inside that country.

Spokesperson for Human Rights Institute in Botswana, Peter Tshukudu says the main concern is the way it was rushed into becoming a law without having been properly deliberated upon.

The new law says, the failure by media practitioners to register and be accredited with government will lead to fines or three years in jail or both.

“We consider it unfair looking at the right of journalist themselves, the right to write and freedom of expression, our freedom to receive information is the fundamental right. We are a nation that is diverse and therefore you can not expect that [continue reading]

source: The Standard
Saturday, 07 February 2009 18:28

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe (pictured) was saved from what could have been an embarrassing tongue-lashing at the just-ended African Union summit after striking a last minute deal with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form an inclusive government.

Informed sources at the African Union revealed to The Standard a number of AU leaders were prepared to openly condemn Mugabe at the annual gathering after he failed to set conditions needed to establish a power-sharing government.

AU leaders decided on the inclusive government at its Sharm El Sheik summit last year, but, by the time African ambassadors gathered in Addis Ababa in preparation for the 12th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government, Mugabe was refusing to compromise on the allocation of posts.

And as officials were finalising the agenda of the summit, South African President Kgalema Motlanthe called AU commission chairperson Jean Ping and informed him of the breakthrough.

The call appeared to have been well-timed to stem the growing calls for the AU to take over the mediation of the Zimbabwe crisis from Sadc.

There was growing consensus in Addis Ababa that the AU had to take a greater role after [continue reading]