Richard Muponde Gwanda Correspondent
BOTSWANA has told the Zimbabwe government that it will, in three months’ time, shoot to kill all cattle that stray into its territory. The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Cde Obedingwa Mguni, told villagers at Halisupi Business Centre in Gwanda South on Friday after touring the proposed Mlambapeli Border Post in the area that Botswana had been helping Zimbabwe with foot and mouth vaccines for the past five years, but is also putting a stop to that.
“I want to advise you that we had a meeting with our counterparts from Botswana recently. They have told us that they’ve been giving Zimbabwe foot and mouth vaccines for the past five years so that we vaccinate our cattle to stop the spread of foot and mouth in cases where our cattle stray to their country. However, they have now advised us that enough was enough and have given us a three months grace period after with they will start shooting any cattle which stray to their country,” said Cde Mguni.
He advised villagers to look after their cattle so that they do not stray into the neighbouring country as they would be shot. “If we allow our cattle to go there and being shot, it’s not you who is losing cattle alone, but the country will be also losing its national herd,” he said.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union president, Abdul Nyathi, said they were going to comply with what was agreed so that the two countries maintain good relations.
“I urge all farmers living in the borders from Beitbridge to Kazungula to comply with what was agreed and remove their cattle from the Botswana side because of foot and mouth fears and stocktheft. Three months is a lot of time to comply otherwise they could have just done it without consulting. Let’s be seen to be doing something and if there’s need to ask for an extension of the grace period it’s fine, but it should be seen that there is some movement on the ground,” said Nyathi.
Botswana accuses locals of fuelling foot and mouth disease in the neighbouring country while locals accuse their neighbours of being behind rampant cases of stocktheft. Some also allege that Botswana authorities confiscate cattle that stray into the neighbouring country.