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    Saturday, 9 September 2017

    Bride price to be paid with branded cattle as stock theft rise

    ELLEN MLAMBO
    CHIVHU BUREAU

    BEATRICE – Police is planning to introduce a law where bride price can only be paid using branded cattle as one way of arresting the nagging problem of stock theft.
    Assistant Commissioner (Operations) Anti Stock theft Unit, Panganai Sande said Police is advocating for a law where branding of cattle would be mandatory in Zimbabwe. He said this means that no one will be allowed to slaughter an unbranded beast and Police will also not clear unbranded cattle.
    In the same vein, it will become a crime to pay lobola with unbranded cattle said Sande during a cattle branding awareness campaign held at Glovina Primary School Ward 14 near Beatrice on Saturday.
    He however, said that the law will only be introduced after farmers have been educated on how cattle branding works. All farmers will be obligated to acquire individual brand certificates.
    The branding campaign came following an upsurge in stock theft in Seke district as a result of raids from stock thieves from around Harare. It was revealed during the campaign that 82 cattle were stolen in the district between January and August alone. The same district saw 104 cattle being stolen throughout 2016.
    Some of the thieves cross Nyatsime River from Harare South using cars to steal and slaughter cattle before going back to sell the meat. The farmers were told that the area between Harare South and Manyame was porous and is the entry point of stock thieves.
    The stock thieves slaughter the cattle mainly for the black market in Harare and Chitungwiza. There are also other thieves coming into Seke from Mhondoro but they too will sell beef in Harare.
    Stock thefts reports are already more in 2017 than they were in the whole of 2016. There were 30 reports of stock theft in 2016 compared to 45 in just the first eight months of this year.
    This year there are 18 cattle that have been recovered while 30 were recovered in 2016.
    Police said stock theft in Manyame was most rampant in Ward 9 which has Aucknest Farm, Shrewsbury Farm, Rusimbiro Farm, Dunolly farm and Kimfuns Farm; Ward 14 that includes Gwalia Farm, Silver Oak farm, Greenlands Farm, Glovina Farm and Ward 15 that includes Eden and Ringa Farms.
    Also attending the awareness campaign was Chief Superintendent (staff officer) Anti Stock theft Unit Andrew Phiri who is based in Harare and Ward 12 councillor Dickson Mubvumbi.
    Sande urged farmers to form village anti stock theft committees that will work with the Police to assess the area in relation to stock theft and apprehend perpetrators.
    "You will discover that if such committees are formed, there will be no stock theft recorded in those areas. The committee will have the power to question suspects and call the Police to visit their area," said Sande.
    Ward 14 councillor Lucy Chitaka said there are numerous cattle rustling cases that occurred in her ward and appreciated ZRP for apprehending perpetrators.
    She thanked the Police for accounting for a notorious gang of stock thieves from Mhondoro and added that stock thefts have gone down since their arrest.
    Veterinary Services department officer Tanaka Garikai demonstrated to farmers how cattle are branded and encouraged them to carry out the exercise in winter to avoid second bacterial infection.
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