BOTSWANA police have killed 68 head of cattle worth about $35 000 through its shoot-to-kill policy. Villagers from Bulilima and Mangwe Districts have appealed to Government to re-engage Botswana authorities to ensure the policy is reversed.
Police national anti-stock theft co-ordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza told villagers during an anti-stock theft campaign meeting last Friday that the policy was not being properly implemented as most cattle that were being shot were stolen from villager’s kraals. He said 68 cattle all valued at $35 000 from Nswazi area in Bulilima District had been shot in Botswana from January to April this year. Snr Asst Comm Makodza said last year a woman from the same area lost 42 cattle that were shot in Botswana after they were stolen from her kraal. “There is need to revisit this policy as it is affecting our national herd. Some of these cattle that are shot will be exhibits of stock theft cases and whenever we try to engage our Botswana authorities on this issue they refuse to entertain us. “Eventually these culprits are not prosecuted even after being arrested because the evidence would have been destroyed. Villagers are being short-changed because they are only paid P100 as compensation for each beast lost,” he said. Snr Asst Comm Makodza said there was need for the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to lobby for the policy to be revised.
Villagers said there was a need to reverse the policy. “We were told that cattle that strayed into the neighbouring country will be shot, but the challenge we are facing is that our cattle are being stolen from our kraals by Botswana nationals. They drive our cattle into their country which are later impounded by authorities there and later killed. “Six of my cattle were recently shot after they were stolen from our area. My cattle didn’t stray, but they were shot,” said Mrs Simangele Ndlovu from Mafeha Village. Villagers threatened to take the law into their own hands if the matter is not resolved soon. Botswana nationals reportedly enter the country illegally and steal villager’s cattle at night. They allegedly cut through the border fence to drive the cattle into their country. Botswana authorities have previously said they resorted to the policy because stray Zimbabwean cattle were affecting beef exports as the country had incidents of foot and mouth disease. Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Obedingwa Mguni said efforts to re-engage the neighbouring country over the policy had so far proved fruitless.