Botswana refuses to release Trucks carrying Fresh Fish for Cross Border Traders from Zambia

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SOME Trucks loaded with fresh fish impounded at Kasungula border post.
SOME Trucks loaded with fresh fish impounded at Kasungula border post.

OVER K 1.8 MILLION worth of fish bought by 30 Zambian cross-border traders into Botswana went to waste in March after the four truckload were not allowed to leave Botswana.

The four trucks, which were loaded with fresh fish coming from Botswana to Zambia, were not allowed to cross by the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism Tsekhedi Khama, a young brother of Botswana’s Government President Khama.

A representative of 30 Zambian traders Gift Mutambo said the traders’ are appealing to the First Lady Easter Lungu and the vice President Inonge Wina to come to their aide over the fish that there destroyed as they have no means of looking after themselves and sending their children to school.

Ms Mutambo said while in Botswana the traders reported their predicament to the Zambian authorities in Botswana to the ambassador Patrick Tembo to help them persuade the Botswana Government to release their fish, but that did not workout.

“This was fresh fish when we bought on 26th March this year and this is now July. We were not surprised that we found it rotten and could not be sold even if it is given back to us now. But even in that condition, the Botswana government has refused to surrender the fish, having vowed that it will all be set on fire in Botswana,” Ms Mutambo narrated.

She said according to the traders, each truck carried about 30 bundles of fish worth about K15,000 per bundle. The four trucks were therefore carrying K 1.8 million of fresh fish.

Ms Mutambo said no reason was given to anyone of the 30 traders for impounding their fish.

“This has been a puzzle to us. Some of us have been buying fish from Botswana since 2011. There was nothing illegal we did. We bought the fish at Sitwa Market in the usual way and no one told us we were doing anything wrong. All of a sudden, we just heard that all our fish was impounded!” she said.

Ms Mutambo said she spent K20,00, Leah Mulenga also spent K20,000 and Sarah Mwila spent the same amount while Mr Nyambe spent K60,000.

Mr Tembo allegedly told some of the traders in Kazungula two weeks ago that he was unable to help them because Mr Khama had totally refused to release the fish and said he had exhausted all channels open to him to persuade the minister to allow the 30 Zambian traders cross the border back into Zambia with their fish, but to no avail.

He said two weeks ago, the Botswana Government had permitted the four truckloads of fish to cross into Zambia but as soon as Mr Khama learnt about it, he ordered Botswana customs and security officers to follow the trucks into Zambia and ensure they got back into Botswana.

Mr Tembo said when the fish re-entered Botswana, MrKhama allegedly gave orders to off-load all the four trucks and destroy the fish. The fish was off-loaded from the trucks last week but when checked by the traders, it was found to be completely rotten.

One trader, Mr Chongo of Lusaka had obtained a loan of K 100,000 all of which he used to buy the fish. Another trader, Charity Bwalya also got a loan of K 60,000 and used all the money to buy the fish. Others spent all their life savings on the fish.

“Others have spent since we worked very hard to acquire the monies we ended up spending money on this fish, now it is all gone and we have no one to help us even with a little to start all over again, we also call upon Hon Minister Kabanshi to also look into our plight because we just do not know what we are going to do” said Leah Mulenga.

SOME Trucks loaded with fresh fish impounded at Kasungula border post.
SOME Trucks loaded with fresh fish impounded at Kasungula border post.
SOME Trucks loaded with fresh fish impounded at Kasungula border post.
SOME Trucks loaded with fresh fish impounded at Kasungula border post.

28 COMMENTS

  1. What can zambia say when we impounded timber from DRC. What goes around comes around so they say

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    • The reason the fish was impounded was because Gift Mutambo claimed it was fresh and yet it was dry

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    • The timber story mister is not all true that it came from DRC, Mukula has been cut from Zambia by curtails. Non of that timber stays in Namibia but makes its way to China and other European countries. Upon release all the trucks where headed to the port of Walvis Bay. The Namibians shouldnt be crying because they have become exploiters the same way Europeans where exploiting africa.

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  2. Story full of holes, and the whole truth is amiss.

    Nothing is ever impounded for no reason, at all. And avenues cannot be closed when younger Khama says no, yet there’s still elder Khama to talk to, just like Botswana went as far as ECL to have their Mukula trucks released.

    Moral of the Story: Do not do to others (do not impound others’) if you do not want others to impound yours –
    as an inland country. Also, do not start a fight with one who can retaliate ferociously.

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    • Iwe the mukula issue was with Namibia, tawaishiba ukubelenga olo your memory is failing you?…or maybe it’s a case of commenting on issues you don’t know?

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  3. Retaliation to pf dictatorship. We warned you that the entire region is against the arrest of hh.

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  4. Just look at the names of the traders , maybe they were engaging in theft in Botswana.

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  5. It’s going to bite where it hurts and it’s just the beginning of the ball game. Soon South Africa,Tanzania and neighboring countries will follow the suit and deny y’all entry into their countries due to instability in your country .

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    • @Brown Envelope,
      Sue Khama for doing his job? You must be joking. In Zambia things are done anyhow and currently there seems to be no one in charge and anything goes. Get out of Botswana!

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  6. Zambians think they can take their lawlessness and cadre mentality across the border. Botswana is a well organised nation and nothing is done haphazardly just because you are PF. Leave Botswana alone. Well done Botswana! Lo dirile sentle, ba batla go senya fatshe la rona ka mekgwa ya bone ya bogodu. Ba aloleng ba ise ditlhapi tsa bone ko Congo.

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  7. How can that truck carry fresh fish? Fresh fish is transported in refrigerated truck.

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  8. Why are we begging for fish from a country that’s mostly a desert and yet we have more water than we can afford to use?

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  9. Most comments here are misplaced. Can someone explain the actual reason why the fish was confiscated. From the pictures it is clear that was dried or smoked fish and not fresh. But the reason why it was confiscated should be explained by the Ministry in Botswana. This is where our High Commission in Botswana can help.
    If there is no reason then Our Foreign Affairs Minister should move in and work out the way forward.

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    • You have raised great points, mate. The journalist behind this story should have gone further to get to the other side of the story. What was difficult interviewing Tswana authorities? Not sure whether to brand it laziness or sheer incompetence I’m afraid even bringing in the minister of foreign affairs at this stage is unnecessary. Just where does he start from? He might only be embarrassed, especially if it turn out the story has connotations of illegality.

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  10. The trucks were confiscated as they fishermen breached the moratorium on fishing in the Northwest of Botswana – Lake Ngami. The Zambian traders were sold an illegal catch. The Bots Government has a fantastic conservation policy and they are in the process of developing policy to avoid depletion of the wonder and nutritious resource. No over fishing this end.

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  11. MR INE WINE its kazungula but the author of this story is bemba so in their language Z is S. Coming to the story , if the fish was fresh fish the Bushman Minister is spot on , its a threat to the environment, better carry in refrigerated trucks. If the fish was dry but as usual the bemba fish traders cheated the officers then the man is right

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