Archive for March 9th, 2009

source: BOPA
09 March, 2009

GABORONE – The general elections should be held on a weekday and the day should be declared a public holiday.

Debating is Parliament, some members argued that Saturday, which is the usual day that general elections are held in the country, is not suitable because some religious groups are forbidden to do anything on the day.

Some even suggested that Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays be excluded as election days because they are days of worship.

The argued that having elections on any one of them disenfranchises many people.

They noted that the Muslims worship on Fridays while the Seventh Day Adventist Church and IPHC worship on Saturday and that most other Christian churches such as the Catholic Church worship on Sundays.

The MP for Moshupa, Mr Maitlhoko Mooka said the Seventh Day Adventist Church has around 50 000 members and that having elections on Saturday denied them their right to vote.

He argued that general elections should be held during the weekdays and be declared a public holiday.

Specially elected MP, Ms Margaret Nasha also supported the [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
By the New York Times
Published: March 8, 2009

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said over the weekend that it would conduct its own investigation into the crash that injured him and killed his wife on Friday.

But the evidence gathered so far suggests that the collision on a highway 72 kilometers, or 45 miles, south of Harare was an accident, according to party and U.S. officials.

The sport utility vehicle carrying the Tsvangirais was sideswiped by a truck that delivers U.S.-supplied antiretroviral drugs to treat people with AIDS, a senior U.S. official said Saturday. A female passenger in the aid truck said the driver lost control after hitting a rough patch, said the official, who discussed the crash on condition of anonymity because he did not have permission to speak on the record.

“From our initial understanding, it seems the truck hit a pothole, lost control, crossed the center line and sideswiped Morgan’s car, causing it to turn over several times,” the U.S. official said. “It looks like it truly was an accident.”

At a news conference Saturday at the party’s headquarters, Tendai Biti, the party’s secretary general and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
09 March, 2009

GABORONE – Botswana has welcomed the release on bail of some of the MDC activists arrested over the alleged plots of banditry and terrorism.

However, a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expresses concern about the continued detention of the remaining MDC activists and the Deputy Minister of Agriculture-designate, Mr Roy Bennet.

It says it can only serve to undermine the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and efforts to attract international goodwill and the much needed economic, financial and technical assistance for [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
MONKAGEDI GAOTLHOBOGWE
Staff Writer

Botswana faces a huge challenge in its diplomatic service because it has only 19 missions covering 140 countries.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Phandu Sekelemani said in his budget presentations to Parliament that Botswana has to rely on multiple accreditations and frequent travel to cover up for the shortfall in foreign missions. Sekelamni said resource constraints remain a big challenge that affects travel and the foreign service allowance.

He said officers at diplomatic missions continually face the daunting challenge of having to live on salaries and allowances, which are seriously eroded by foreign exchange fluctuations.

“These rates of exchanges also impact negatively on the annual budgets of the missions, to the extent that time and again, I have to besiege the Finance Minister with requests for a supplementary budget,” he said.

He added that during the last financial year, some missions [continue reading]

source: Google News / AP
By ANGUS SHAW – 5 hours ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe’s prime minister is returning home to resume his duties after receiving medical treatment in Botswana.

Morgan Tsvangirai was injured in a car crash last week that killed his wife. Spokesman James Maridadi says Tsvangirai is returning to Harare on Monday because that’s what his wife would have wanted.

Tsvangirai arrived in Botswana on Saturday, a day after the crash.

He also spent months there last year, fearing for his life at the [continue reading]

source: BOPA
09 March, 2009

GABORONE – Two ruling party MPs have criticised the Ministry of Lands and Housing for failing to demarcate and allocate plots in areas around Mogoditshane after acquiring the land.

Kweneng South East MP, Mr Mmoloki Raletobana says he does not understand why the Kweneng Land Board fails to allocate people plots in such areas as Metsimotlhabe, Mmatseta and Morope.

He said the land board acquired the land from the former residents with the promise to allocate it to those in need.

Commenting on the Ministry of Lands and Housing budget proposal for the coming financial year last week, Mr Raletobana urged the Kweneng Land Board to outsource the servicing of the land if it does not have the personnel to do the work.

On other issues, Mr Raletobana complained that the current land allocation system still permitted some people to be allocated more than one residential plot and urged the loophole.

Mogoditshane MP, Mr Patrick Masimolole supported his colleague, and called for the pardoning of Tsolamosese squatters.

He urged the government to reverse its decision to [continue reading]

source: BOPA
09 March, 2009

JWANENG – Jwaneng Mine has opted to proceed with its expansion project dubbed Jwaneng Cut8 despite the current global financial downturn.

Mr Rodgers Thusi, Jwaneng Mine Technical Services Manager, told a stakeholders meeting last week that the project will undoubtedly make Jwaneng mine bigger than before.

The meeting was attended by, among others, Ngwaketse West MP Mephato Reatile, councillors and business people.

Mr Thusi assured business people that the project will improve business in the town as at least 1000 people will be involved.

The mine’s general manager, Mr Balisi Bonyongo said the mine is aware of the hardships that the financial crisis is having on the town, but assured them that retrenchments will be their last option.

“We believe that the pain we are going through is a temporary one [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
PATRICIA MAGANU
Staff Writer

FRANCISTOWN: U-Build, one of several building material traders in Francistown, will change its name to Builders World, says its Managing Director, Sufdar Hussain Mukadam.

“We did not have Builders World in this town before, and we are hoping that despite the credit crunch, it will make a difference, Mukadam says, adding that by means of this move, they want to bring better prices, more choices and increased efficiency to their customers.

“We will have a wider variety of products, more stock items and more vehicles. Which means we will be able to serve our customers more efficiently.”

The re-styled operation will open on April 1 on the same premises of the former U-Build.

Like U-Build, Builders World is a part of the World Group of Companies and the directors and 50-strong staff will remain the same.

“We are retaining all our staff except maybe those who will [continue reading]

source: BOPA
09 March, 2009

GABORONE – A motion requesting the government to amend Section 58 (2) (b) of the constitution in order to increase the number of specially elected MPs by four to cater for women as a matter of urgency was deferred last Friday due to the absence of the answerable cabinet minister.

The motion by Mahalapye East MP, Ms Botlogile Tshireletso was adjourned midway through debate as the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration was not in Parliament.

Attempts to salvage the situation by temporarily adjourning Parliament did not bare any fruits as the minister did not turn up.

Other motions that were deferred include the Freedom of Information Act, the amendment of the country’s constitution in order to comply with quotas on women’s representation as contained in various international covenants such as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

The other motion deferred was by [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info
9 March 2009

South Africa’s Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, is taking a 33 percent stake in Russian investment bank Troika Dialog in an asset swap and cash deal that, according to reports, marks the first major foreign investment in the Russian financial sector since the start of the global economic crisis.

“Standard Bank is entering into a strategic partnership with Troika Dialog Group Limited, the most established and largest independent investment bank in Russia, in terms of which Standard Bank intends, subject to regulatory approvals, becoming a 33 percent shareholder in Troika Dialog,” Standard Bank said in a statement on Friday.

The deal will initially comprise a US$200-million convertible loan extended by Standard Bank’s International Operations to the Troika Dialog Group.

Standard Bank will also give a 100 percent stake in its Russian subsidiary commercial bank (ZAO Standard Bank) and [continue reading]

source: BOPA
09 March, 2009

GABORONE – The Minister of Lands and Housing has requested about P100 million for the Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) development programme during the 2009/10 financial year.

Mr Nonofo Molefhi said P30 million will used to cater for SHHA Home Improvement Loans for about 666 beneficiaries at the new maximum ceiling of P45 000 per beneficiary.

Mr Molefhi also requested about P643 million in recurrent budget and over P640 million in development budget for his ministry in the coming financial year.

Presenting his ministry’s budget proposal last week, Mr Molefhi said a further P70 million is needed to implement the Turnkey Scheme. He said the money will be used to cater for over 1 000 people at the current cost of P60 000 per house.

To address the backlog and shortage of housing for [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
TSHIRELETSO MOTLOGELWA
Staff Writer
OLIVER MODISE
Correspondent

Khama said to be unwilling to lend support to prosecution

A week into the 30-day period given to the prosecution to avail a statement from President Ian Khama to the defence, has not yielded anything. The absence of Khama’s statement is said to say a lot about the government’s position on the case – it does not support the prosecution of the former head of Debswana, Louis Nchindo.

“Khama is not too enthusiastic about this case. If he had his way, the whole thing would be abandoned and he has made this clear,” says a source close to the case and the investigations.

According to information reaching Mmegi Khama was given a paper to write his statement nearly a year ago but he has not done so, sparking fears that he might be leaning on the side of the defence. The DPP and the defence, Collins and Newman are known to be engaged in a tussle for witnesses and the reluctance of Khama to avail the statement is seen as a rejection of the prosecution’s cause.

Furthermore the fact that some members of the cabinet are said to [continue reading]

source: BBC News

The funeral for the wife of Zimbabwean PM Morgan Tsvangirai, killed in a car crash on 6 March, is to take place on Wednesday, his party has said.

Susan Tsvangirai will be buried at her rural home in Buhera, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official said.

Mr Tsvangirai, who is in neighbouring Botswana for medical tests and rest, is expected to return to Harare on Monday.

The MDC says it will carry out its own inquiry into the crash. But officials have not said they suspect foul play.

Mr Tsvangirai, who had previously spent time in Botswana while in opposition, flew there on Saturday after leaving a private clinic in Harare.

He had been treated in Zimbabwe’s capital for head and neck injuries sustained in Friday’s crash, party officials said. His condition is reported to be stable.

A source close to the prime minister told the BBC that his [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
Published: March 7, 2009

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said Saturday that it would conduct its own investigation of the crash that injured him and killed his wife on Friday. But the evidence gathered so far suggests that the collision on a highway 45 miles south of here was an accident, according to party and American officials.

The sport utility vehicle carrying the Tsvangirais was sideswiped by a truck that delivers American-supplied antiretroviral drugs to treat people with AIDS, a senior American official said Saturday. A female passenger in the aid truck said the driver lost control after hitting a rough patch, said the official, who discussed the crash on condition of anonymity because he did not have permission to speak on the record.

“From our initial understanding, it seems the truck hit a pothole, lost control, crossed the center line and sideswiped Morgan’s car, causing it to turn over several times,” the American official said. “It looks like it truly was an accident.”

At a news conference Saturday at the party’s headquarters, Tendai Biti, the party’s secretary general and the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT

Emerging reports indicate that management at Tati Nickel Mining Company has given all workers between 1st and 31st March to apply for voluntary separation or face the high likelihood of involuntary exits and retrenchments from the mine.

It has also been reported that the mine could possibly close down for a period, should nickel prices remain depressed and should the cost-cutting measures being introduced fail to pay dividends.Tati Nickel’s operating position has been severely weakened by the downturn in the price of nickel since the third quarter of last year. The price of nickel has fallen by about 60 percent since last July, putting the profitability and viability of mines such as Tati into doubt.

As part of a range of cost-cutting measures, Tati last year terminated the contracts of most of [continue reading]