Tuesday, January 25, 2022

CKGR residents sue govt. over hunting ban

Five residents of the CKGR, Nare Gaoberekwe, Mosetlhanyane Matsipane, Amogelang Segootsane, Gaorapelwe Kgwatshiswa and Mogoba Tshiamiso have lodged a case in the High Court against a hunting ban which started on January 10, 2014. The residents are seeking a declaratory that the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks prohibition of hunting, capturing or removal of animals order 2014 is unlawful or unconstitutional, a declaratory that the Director of Department of Wildlife and National Parks should be directed to make all arrangements necessary to enable them to apply for special game licenses or hunting permits under the National Parks and Game Reserves regulations 2000 and to determine those applications on their merits.

Court papers prepared by their attorney Gosego Lekgowe of Morolong Legal Practice state that the residents are prohibited from hunting listed animals to feed themselves and their families notwithstanding that these animals are their sole or primary source of protein, food.

They further argue that the order imposes a prohibition for a period of 12 months from the date of publication of order and further that this period shall be reviewed on a “yearly basis until provision is lifted”. This they submitted means that it will continue automatically after January 10, 2015 “until it is lifted”. The residents point out that the order provides that the period of the ban “shall be reviewed on yearly basis” but “does not state by whom the review will be conducted or what it will involve and does not require the reviewer, whoever he or she is to consult those affected by the ban or to publish the review, or inform anyone of its outcome.”

This being the case they submit the order confers upon the Minister arbitrary power to determine whether or when he will decriminalize the activities of citizens of Botswana contrary to the rule of law. Alternatively that the order contravenes the constitution of Botswana in that it excludes from the ban any persons who hunt on a private game farm or ranch pursuant to permission granted under section 24 of the Act which denies them equal protection of law. That the ban further deprives them and their families of only adequate source of protein \food available to them in the reserve and therefore denies them right to life or alternatively it subjects them to inhuman degrading treatment by depriving them of the only source of food available in the reserve.

Finally that they are not compensated for the loss of their right to hunt or to apply for special game licenses or hunting permits. Some of the applicants in this matter were in the past in the case in which residents of CKGR successfully sued the government against forced removal from the reserve.

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