…Govt maintains shoot-to-kill policy on stray cattle
Endless efforts by Zimbabwe to re-engage Botswana over the shoot-to-kill policy on stray cattle had so far proved fruitless. Zimbabwe has on several occasions tried in vain to persuade Botswana to suspend its shoot-to-kill policy on cattle crossing the border into the country. Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs deputy minister, Obedingwa Mguni told Zimbabwean cattle ranchers in the border areas of Plumtree, Mangwe, Bulilima, Matobo and others not to allow their cattle to cross into Botswana. “Efforts to re-engage the neighbouring country (Botswana) over the (shoot-to-kill) policy had so far proved fruitless,” Mguni has confirmed. Mguni’s sentiments came after Botswana border control police units killed at least 68 head of cattle worth about P350 000 (an estimated $35 000). The villagers have appealed to the Zimbabwean government to re-engage with Botswana to ensure the policy is reversed. Zimbabwe’s police national anti-stock theft coordinator Senior Assistant Commissioner Erasmus Makodza revealed shocking numbers of cattle killed through the shoot-to-kill policy. “Botswana is not turning back on the shoot-to-kill policy. Botswana is doing everything within her power to ensure that its beef finds its way into the lucrative European Union (EU) once again,” said Mguni. Assistant Agricultural Development and Food Security Minister Kgotla Autlwetse said Botswana government consulted with their Zimbabwean counterparts prior to the implementation of the shoot-to-kill policy. “A head of cattle is every Motswana’s diamond hence the implementation of the shoot-to-kill policy,” said Autlwetse. He said the governments of Botswana and Zimbabwe made a resolution to shoot and kill at sight as a way of controlling the virulent Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). It is painful to lose a head of cattle and I do sympathize with the Zimbabwean cattle farmers living along the border line. But there is nothing we can do. It is a policy that the two governments agreed upon,” he said.