Friday, November 15, 2013

Hunting ban irks human rights activists

Protected: Government says there are species whose numbers are under threat 
The government’s decision to ban hunting in all the wildlife protected areas would bring woes to families of the Basarwa who leave in and around the wildlife areas and may lead to another court battle between the first settlers of the Kgalagadi District and the Botswana government. Even before the commencement of the ban which effects in January next year, the Basarwa of New Xade settlement who often hunt in the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) are said to be subjected to constant harassment and senseless arrests by the Police. One of their Attorneys, Patrick Matlho who is currently representing fifteen (15) men of Basarwa tribes in different cases of poaching is concerned that the banning of hunting would only cause more arrests in these areas as hunting was a way of living for the Basarwa.

“They would continue hunting because it is their livelihood. Even when the government is no longer issuing them with special licences as they used to, they have no choice but to find a way of getting meat, wild fruits and roots. That is what they eat. That is the food they have always eaten. I represent them because they are my neighbours and I only represent them on issues that affect their livelihood,” Matlho explained in a recent interview.
He was in fact making reference to a number of poaching cases against several Basarwa men which are yet to be decided by the Gantsi Magistrate court. He further revealed that very often Basarwa people, especially men, who are the head of families and hunters are subjected to police brutality upon arrests. “The police often use excessive force during the arrests and they beat the Basarwa,” Matlho pointed out.
On Monday this week, President Ian Khama announced that his government has decided to ban hunting in all wildlife controlled hunting areas in the country with effect from January 2014. In his state of the nation address, President Khama said the decision was necessitated by available scientific based information.

Read more in Weekend Post

No comments: