Khama used to settle personal scores with hunting safari owners - claim

20 Oct 2013

Safari operators claim that resident National Geographic film maker, Dereck Joubert had an axe to grind with some owners of hunting safaris in the Okavango and used his friendship with President Khama to influence the ban against trophy hunting. Joubert who own Selinda Reserve in the Okavango delta has confirmed meeting President Khama where he raised concern about trophy hunting.

Safari owners claim that Joubert is President Khama’s close friend and that he influenced Khama to ban trophy hunting to get back at unnamed individuals who owns hunting safaris in the Okavango Delta and Chobe. Joubert latest post in his Facebook page dubbed “The Last Lions” in which he states that people should not be worried about losing jobs because he will take over the hunting concession areas and transfer them into photographic has touched off public outrage. In an interview with Sunday Standard, Mochaba Development, Director, Debbie Peake says Joubert was influential in the decision to ban trophy hunting and this was meant to sabotage some individuals in the hunting safari. Peake stated that Joubert who he says has a deep and respected friendship with people in power has long been anti hunting. She lamented that many people were going to lose jobs as a result of the move, an observation shared by a recent BIDPA report. Peake said that a number of hunting safari owners have already sent their staff to Joubert following his Facebook post.

“He is being rush. His position against hunting safari is a result of a personal vendetta against some individuals. He just makes wild claims that are not scientifically proven. His sentiments are just a public stunt meant to put him on the map as a National Geographic filmmaker,” said Peake.

She said that they were concerned about Joubert’s statement that he will take over the hunting concessions which are usually put out to tender. She further said that this shows that Joubert had plans to take over the concessions because he is influential. She said the decision to ban trophy hunting was not based on scientific evidence but on emotions. Safari Botswana Bound also stated that close to three thousand people will lose their jobs as result of the hunting ban. Safari Botswana Bound, Director, Graeme Pollock told Sunday Standard that Joubert was not aware of the number of people who will lose jobs.

Pollock says the filmmaker has been very vigilant in his quest to make sure that the hunting safari’s companies closes business. He says that Joubert has no scientific information to back his claim that hunting was detrimental to wildlife species. Joubert confirmed meeting Khama and hailed the decision to ban hunting. He dismissed claims that he could have influenced Khama to ban hunting in Botswana. “I don’t have influence in the decision making process of government. When you see the decline of wildlife species hunting and poaching cannot be tolerated. I had a conversation with the president and I don’t think I should be held responsible for influencing the ban because one person cannot influence such a decision”, said Joubert. He said that he made his opinion known and the decision came from the president himself.