Villagers in Bulilima West constituency have come out guns blazing at the Botswana government after having lost over 600 cattle in the past three years to the country authorities.

The beasts are shot and burnt once they cross into Botswana, a move that is done to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease from Zimbabwe to that country.

Botswana supplies beef to the European Union and is fearful that any risk of contamination will result in its meat exports being banned.

Speaking to Newsday, Bulilima West MP, Dingimuzi Phuti said:

We will write a petition to the Ministries of Home Affairs and Agriculture so that they should protect us against Botswana’s foreign policy.

We can’t make Botswana change its policy, they are protecting their market because they supply beef to the EU.

They were told by the bloc that Zimbabwe is a red zone and if your cattle mix with those from that country we will stop buying your beef.

I was told that cattle from here, Hinkwe, Nswazi, Malalume, Madabe and Izimnyama have been killed in their numbers. Over 600 is not a joke that’s a national herd going.

We are not going to take time to solve the issue because at this rate we will lose all the livestock.

Minister of Agriculture, Perrance Shiri said that the Ministry was sending a team to Matabeleland South to visit the affected areas. He said:

Right now I am dispatching a team of our officers to the affected areas so that they would see how best we can deal with the situation and also talk to farmers to understand how they can be helped in the interim, in averting further shootings.

We are preoccupied with separating game parks and the farming areas to curb the spread of the foot and mouth disease.