The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism says that government held several consultations with different stakeholders including the Chief of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority, Fumu Erwin Mbambo regarding the issue of Bwabwata National Park.
The Ministry says that according to the Cabinet submission of 08 June 1999, the Ministry of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Ministry of Regional, Local Government and Housing, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development, the Regional Governor at the time, Chief Mayuni, Chief Sifu, Fumu Mbambo and Headman Kippi George were all consulted.
The Ministry further added that the Cabinet decision of 1999 which prohibits cattle in Bwabwata National Park is mainly due to reasons such as livestock disease and tourism, adding that the presence of cattle constitute a threat to the spreading of CBPP or lung sickness and FMD from Botswana to Eastern Zambezi and the Kavango East Region and beyond.
The Ministry said this today (30 March 2022) during a public hearing with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs on the petition submitted to the National Assembly on 19 November 2021 by the Hambukushu Traditional Authority. The petition is calling amongst others, the National Assembly to revisit the Cabinet decision of 1999; that no cattle be allowed in Bwabwata National Park or any other Game Park in the Northern-East. It also alleges that the proclamation of Bwabwata National Park of 2007 is illegal and must be revisited because there were no proper consultations done.
The meeting with the ministry was adjourned until further notice, to allow committee members to compare information gathered so far and prepare questions to the ministry that may need further clarity.
The Committee recently undertook a fact-finding visit to Bwabwata National Park where it met the Hambukushu Traditional Authority, the Hambukushu community and Khwe people living in Bwabwata.