Botswana: Illegal Possession of Tusks Rife


By Ludo Chube, Daily News

Date Published
Kasane — MP for Chobe, Mr Ronald Shamukuni has expressed concern about the increasing cases of illegal possession of elephant tusks in the district.
Addressing a kgotla meeting in Lesoma, Mr Shamukuni said this seemed to have gained momentum over the years. “While there have been suspects originating from neighbouring countries, we also know that these culprits have friends in Botswana who facilitate this crime,” he said.
As such, he encouraged residents to report these cases to the police to safeguard their tourism interests. He however thanked residents for taking part in the democratic process by going to the polls last year to vote. Mr Shamukuni re-assured them that he will be everyone’s MP irrespective of their political party affiliation.
Furthermore, he also updated residents on some of the developments coming to their district this year such as the Zambezi Integrated Agro Commercial project, which will draw water from the Chobe River to irrigate Pandamatenga farms, and the construction of the Kazungula Bridge.
In his welcome remarks, Kgosi Lesoma Lesoma complained about the state of the village road, which he said needs maintenance so that it can attract public transport operators to Lesoma. He suggested that at least the road be paved since tarring is expensive.
He however thanked the government for developments in his village such as the deployment of a Social and Community Development (S&CD) Officer based in Lesoma and availability of running water provided by Water Utilities Corporation (WUC).
For their part, residents complained of loss of their livestock to hyenas and one resident, Ms Kuwani Poniso suggested that the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) should establish a mobile unit in the village to monitor the situation closely.
Residents also asked for a library to keep young people preoccupied with beneficial hobbies and the MP advised them to ensure that the library suggestion is included in the Village Development Committee (VDC) proposal.
Standing in for the Chobe Council Secretary, Ms Membe Makonya said that maintenance of the Lesoma road will be done in February but could not make promises pertaining to tarring.
She also used the opportunity to warn parents to ensure that their children refrain from engaging in sex-work, which is expected to increase with the construction of the Kazungula Bridge.
Botswana Police Station Commander for Kazungula/Lesoma Superintendent Vusimusi Jorowe concurred with the warning, adding that teenagers as young as 14 and 16-year-olds are often found around Kazungula engaging in sex work.
“Most of these sex workers are actually from Lesoma village,” he said.