By Keamogetse Letsholo, The Botswana Daily News
Human/wildlife conflict, particularly that pertaining to elephants, needs immediate attention, says President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi.
Speaking during his visit to the family of 54-year-old Mr Morafe Shamukuni, who was trampled to death by an elephant on April 25 in Kasane, Dr Masisi said the danger posed by elephants to humans prompted him to initiate the just ended summit.
The purpose of the summit was for the KAZA region leadership to meet and engender a better understanding on management and associated challenges in addressing the problem.
He said while Batswana argued that hunting was a form of managing the elephant population, the international community opposed it and even threatened to boycott the country’s tourism should the hunting ban be lifted.
Dr Masisi however said government was in the process of implementing the recommendation of the cabinet task committee on the lifting of the ban which would obviously not satisfy all.
It was unfortunate, he said, that some people had already lost their lives and some had sustained injuries as a result of the increasing wildlife population.
Dr Masisi told the bereaved family that he heard of Mr Shamukuni’s death from government officials and later learnt that the deceased was a relative of the Assistant Minister Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Mr Machana Shamukuni.
He explained that he consoled the assistant minister and promised him that he would pay condolences to the family in person hence the visit. The Angolan Minister of Environment, Ms Paula Crista Coelho, also accompanied Dr Masisi to console the Shamukuni family.
Earlier when welcoming the President and his delegation, the deceased’s sister, Ms Dorcas Shamukuni thanked Dr Masisi for his visit and sending a message of condolences during the funeral.
She said her late brother met his demise while walking from Plateau through the stairs pathway near the recreational park.
It is beleived there were elephants on the pathway but since he was alone at the time of his death, nobody knows what really happened.
Ms Shamukuni said her brother was found lying lifeless on the morning of April 26 and that postmortem results indicated he sustained broken arms and legs, a smashed chest and a ruptured liver.
She lamented that the deceased did not only leave behind his four children, but was the only caretaker for his wheelchair bound father.