Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi has called on Matsiloje villagers to be vigilant and to arrest illegal Zimbabwean immigrants crossing into Botswana using the village, which is adjacent to the border.
Addressing a kgotla meeting in the village recently, the VP told residents that they should not allow foreigners to terrorise them in their own country. “You are better placed since you are in your own comfort zone and the law permits members of the public to make an arrest whenever an offence has occurred. Therefore, arrest these illegal immigrants and hand them over to the kgotla for corporal punishment. Let them be thrashed thoroughly,” he directed.
Masisi’s remarks followed a complaint by the Village Development Committee (VDC) chairman Joel Mpetsane, who did not mince his words as he complained that residents are not safe as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Zimbabwe frequently cross into their village and then rob innocent villagers of their goods.
“Since we water our cattle in the river next to the border fence, it has become unsafe for one to venture into the river unaccompanied and this has made life very difficult for many cattle herders. Our police team in the village is very limited, even soldiers who normally help during patrols are insufficient. We implore you to bring more soldiers and police into the village for our own safety. They are so limited that these criminals rob people and vanish into thin air without any trace,” he said.
Mpetsane added that villagers are also not safe as wild animals including elephants and lions are destroying both their crops and domestic animals. In response to the wildlife issue, the VP promised to have a word with the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama.
Masisi went further to inform the villagers that in the event that he doesn’t have a meeting with the concerned minister, he will do everything in his power to have their grievances addressed especially compensation of those affected by wild animals.
Mpetsane also complained to Masisi on behalf of villagers that a tender has been awarded to a contractor who was scheduled to commence the refurbishment of Francistown Matsiloje road which is infested with pot holes.
“A board announcing the commencement of the tender which was November 2015 to October 2016 has long been placed in front of the kgotla entrance but nothing is taking place along the road. Since the road has a lot of potholes, I wonder how you travelled all the way here. The condition of the road is not safe as it causes a lot of road accidents,” he said.
Masisi then promised the residents that he will take all their complaints to President Ian Khama who he said had sent him to get feedback on what is affecting their daily lives.