Cross border cattle rustling poses common threat to Botswana and Zimbabwe

Francinah Baaitse
MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Lemogang Kwape of Botswana and Frederick Shava of Zimbabwe

Organised cross border livestock rustling along Botswana-Zimbabwe border continue to rob Batswana farmers of their livestock and has reduced them to a life of poverty and destitution.

Speaking on Thursday this week, at the just ended fourth session of Bi-National Commission (BNC) between Botswana and Zimbabwe which was held in Maun from Monday 5th February 2024 to Friday 9th February 2024, Botswana Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lemogang Kwape noted that cattle rustling was major issue that continue to trouble the two neighbouring countries.

Cross border cattle rustling poses common threat to Botswana and Zimbabwe

Kwape noted that this crime started off as a mere common stock theft, but has since escalated into serious , well organised cross-border crime..

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“There is therefore an urgent need to expedite action on this problem. Since it has far-reaching implications, not only on the livelihoods of the affected communities, but also on the socio-economic development of the wo countries,” Kwape pointed out and added that, “There is an urgent need to conclude and sign the Framework Agreement on Livestock Rustling.”

Kwape further explained that in the meantime a Joint Technical Committee (JTC) which has since been appointed to oversee relief programme for affected farmers, developed Guidelines for Restocking as well as the verification and Assessment Form as tools used in identification of beneficiaries.

“Given our excellent bilateral relations. I am confident that our joint efforts can effectively eradicate the problem, including its root causes. I have no doubt that our Senior Officials have come up with some recommendations for our consideration in order to effectively address this problem,” said Kwape.

Botswana brought up the concern of the endemic problem of livestock rustling at the 3rd session of BNC held in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe two years ago. The two countries then initiated a joint framework for cooperation to facilitate and harmonise efforts in the fight against the problem.

Co-chairing the Minister’s session at the fourth BNC in Maun, Zimbabwe Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Frederick Shava stated that the joint efforts have actually reduced this kind of crime, “I note with satisfaction that the joint efforts by the police organisations and interstate liaison operations have drastically reduced livestock rustling crime along the border. It is worth noting that even if our resources as individual countries may be scarce and stretched to the limits, both countries have made sacrifices for the sake of ending this crime.”

Meanwhile both Presidents, Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana and Emmerson Mnangwagwa of Zimbabwe stressed the importance of cooperation in all sectors of agriculture as a priority including on the issue of fighting crimes such as cross border livestock rustling among other interventions.

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