17 May 2017

Botswana: Bots MP Says Gaborone Should Erect an Electric Fence Along Zim Border

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Gaborone city centre.

Botswana MP for Tati East, Samson Moyo Guma, has called for the construction of a fence along the Zimbabwe border.

He has also declared his liking for US President Donald Trump's controversial policy to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to protect the interests of the US people.

Guma made the remarks during a recent Kgotla meeting that was addressed by the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama.

The meeting was convened to solicit ideas on how to control elephants that are causing havoc in the north east district, making it easy for cattle from Botswana to cross to Zimbabwe where Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) virus is endemic.

The cattle are killed when they return to Botswana because they would be suspected to have contracted FMD while their owners are compensated with P700 per beast.

Guma Botswana has a responsibility to protect the interests of her people adding that the erection of an electric fence along the Botswana-Zimbabwe border will help prevent livestock from crossing into Zimbabwe.

He said it is a well-known fact that there is FMD in Zimbabwe and as such Botswana should come up with any measure geared towards protecting farmers from Matsiloje from the FMD pandemic. He said the Government has money and resources to erect the electric fence and that Batswana should not suffer because of the Government of Zimbabwe's failure to control FMD in their country.

He added that Botswana is sitting on a time-bomb because of the prevalence of FMD in Zimbabwe.

"We have resources. I don't want to hear that there is no money. There is a lot of money in this country, even minister Khama is aware of that. The only issue is how and when to use the money. Let us talk to the people and solicit their views about how to solve this problem of elephants," said Guma.

He added that Government is sitting on a time-bomb by not taking good care of the border fence, which appears to be an ineffective barrier to control cattle and people who cross the border illegally.

"We need to attend to the problem of the fence urgently. Killing cattle that have crossed the border into Zimbabwe is not a solution. We are not supposed to suffer because of our neighbours who seem not to care," said Guma. He said the people of Botswana should not suffer at the expense of Zimbabwe adding that as the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee he knows that there is a lot of money in Botswana.

In the past, authorities in Zimbabwe voiced their concern about Botswana's plans to build an electric fence along Botswana-Zimbabwe border.

The Zimbabwean authorities said the fence, which Guma said is riddled with many gaps, was just a smokescreen to prevent Zimbabweans from crossing illegally into Botswana.

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