Archive for March 2nd, 2009

source: Standay Standard
by Gowenius Toka
01.03.2009 9:53:08 A

MEMBERS of Parliament do not have enough knowledge to debate and formulate the country’s laws –it has been revealed.

The Auditor General has revealed that the National Assembly does not have the capacity to create the knowledge that would help MPs make informed debates and choices when formulating the country’s laws.

The Standing Orders of the National Assembly of Botswana provide that every committee should, from time to time, report to the National Assembly concerning the matters referred to it. Against this background, an arrangement exists that committees should prepare reports after completion of their assignments, to be tabled before Parliament.

Notwithstanding this rule, the report of the Auditor General on the effectiveness of the support given to Parliament by the National Assembly Administration observed “…most committees had been failing to produce reports as was required”.

This failure is said to have resulted in the Legislature being without information and knowledge on which to base their discussions, for the full delivery of their mandate.

The audit report has attributed the anomaly to [continue reading]

Media gets supports

source: Mmegi

While some politicians in the country may have approved and advocated for hostile laws against the media, the people have indicated that they want a free press.

Recent research by the Afrobarometer points out solid support for press freedom at 80% in a nationwide survey. The people feel the media has to be free to report stories as they see fit.

“The result show that 80 percent of Batswana say news media should report stories as they see fit, against only 16 percent who say the government should close newspapers that report stories it does not like. This indicates that Batswana are committed to having independent and critical reporting in the press,” the report says. The findings in support of media freedom are actually higher than in the previous survey by nine percent (in 2005 about 71 percent of Batswana said the media ought to report on stories as they see fit).

The study says this is testimony to the citizens desire that the media should be an important means to [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
01.03.2009 9:50:05 A

Tax payers will spend more on ensuring that President Ian Khama travels in luxury than in ensuring the security of Batswana.

President Ian Khama’s new plane is to cost the taxpayer over P240 million which is almost double the P132 million allocated to the Botswana Police Service under the development budget.

The amount of money that will be spent on the presidential jet is even more than the development budget allocation for the Colleges of Education project which is P 171million.

This comes at a time when the country has had to freeze civil service salaries because the country’s budget is in deficit due to the international financial crisis.

Presidential Affairs Minister, Daniel Kwelagobe, told parliament on Wednesday that the price of the new presidential jet, which is yet to be delivered, cost US $47.5 million, or P 237.5 million at 2006 prices.

“This amount will remain the same in US dollars but may vary in Pula terms depending on [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The Minister of Works, Transport and Communications, Johnny Swartz, has said that the Botswana Railways (BR) will soon halt its passenger train services.

The ministry has directed BR to stop passenger train services because it is an expensive exercise. More details as to when the service will be suspended are expected early next week. In October 2006, BR indefinitely suspended the day passenger train service and now the night train is to be stopped.

The passenger coaches will be sold to raise funds as part of a strategy to re-finance BR which made a P78 million loss over the last year. The company now requires a recapitalisation of close to P600 million.

Swartz said in Parliament yesterday that halting the passenger train service is a necessary evil that must be tolerated for [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Kagiso Madibana
01.03.2009 9:50:47 A

Botswana Railways passengers should count themselves lucky that they are alive and well after traveling in a death trap for 15 years.

The Botswana Railways (BR), which has been neglecting safety procedures, has been exposing its passengers to accident risks for more than 10 years.
The planned maintenance of the company’s fleet was that its coaches were to be serviced after 500 000 kms or every 5 years, which ever was to occur first.

The servicing was ideally intended to address issues arising out of wear and tear and safety-critical components to ensure that the coaches were in good order.

Information given to the Sunday Standard reveals that BR has never once serviced its passenger coaches over the past 15 years when the fleet was introduced to the market as passenger trains between 1991 and 1993.
Failure to service the fleet did not guarantee operators or passengers’ safety as BR could not warrant the reliability of the two passenger trains.

Following the report by [continue reading]

source: The Standard
Saturday, 28 February 2009 20:58

CHINHOYI — Hungry Zanu PF supporters fell over each other as they scrambled for food at President Robert Mugabe’s much hyped 85th birthday celebrations yesterday, where ordinary people were served boiled meat and sadza.

There was pandemonium as elderly people and youths rushed to the serving points soon after a combative Mugabe finished his winding speech.

Bouncers worked over time trying to control queues as people fought their way to get their portions of the ordinary meal served on plastic paper plates and old newspapers because of a shortage of plates.

For the people, there was no sign of the classy cuisine and expensive drinks budgeted for by the organisers of the North Korean-style event.

Top government officials, including Mugabe, had their lunch at a hotel where entry was restricted.

In his speech, Mugabe vowed the violent land seizures from [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Abattoirs in Francistown and Selebi-Phikwe could be closed down if the two local authorities fail to comply with the hygiene specifications of the Livestock and Meat Industries Act.

If that happened, it would spell disaster for Selebi-Phikwe, which falls under Zone 7 where the movement of cloven hoofed animals and meat is restricted as a precaution against Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Dr Kerapetse Sehularo of the Meat Hygiene and Quality Control Division in the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) told the Selebi-Phikwe Town Council (SPTC) meeting this week that the local abattoir faces closure if it does not address its shortcomings.

Sehularo said the Francistown abattoir is in a similar situation and has [continue reading]