Ngamiland farmers are reported to be fuming after what they say is a very arrogant attitude of veterinary officers who have been going to their cattle posts and informing their herdsmen about their department’s decision to kill, without compensating the farmers, all cattle that will not have been vaccinated for foot and mouth after the current vaccination campaign.
One of such farmers, Kgosi Labanye Meno of Meno Ward in Maun, says that if the officers carry out that threat it would be very inappropriate because they had not been told about this decision as owners of the cattle.
According to him, the officers who are going around telling the herdsmen that they were going to kill cattle know quite well to whom the cattle belong and that there was no need for them to have gone to address herdsmen about such a sensitive issue which touches on their livelihood.
”We expect to be informed about this formally in a kgotla so that the issue is addressed properly and we are given a chance to comment and ask questions to seek clarification on issues we do not understand.
That will be the right thing to do and not what is being done now,” he said.
Meno says that what is worrying him more is that some veterinary officers are denying that there is such a decision from their head office.
Another Ngamiland farmer, who declined to give his name and is an officer of the department, says that he has heard about the issue just because he works for the department.
According to him, it would have been right if they were formally told about this in a kgotla, for instance, so that they can ask questions in relation to the issue.
Doing so, he said, would be in line with the government policy of (therisanyo) which he sad is a very important aspect of our culture.
”Where will be (therisanyo) in this if they carry out their threat?” he asked.
Another farmer, Samuel Dimbo, says that the talk about killing unvaccinated cattle was a confirmation of what they have always suspected: that the government wants to get rid of cattle in Ngamiland in order to cater for the wishes of tourists. According to him, it has always been the plan of the government to get rid of cattle in Ngamiland.
“This is not surprising, it has always been in the government’s plans to get rid of cattle in Ngamiland,” said Dimbo.
The Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo, recently confirmed that they were going to destroy all cattle that had not been vaccinated after the current vaccination campaign which started on the 10 of April.
He said this will be done because such cattle are the ones responsible for spreading of the disease.
On accusations that farmers have not been formally informed about the intention to kill their unvaccinated cattle, he said that they had long been made aware of this plan by their field officers.
Besides, he said, they had done all they could do to disseminate the message by placing advertisements on national radio station RB2, placing information at schools, clinics, et cetera.