UDC Ambivalent Over UK Trophy Importation Bill 

  • BCP clearly with govt on the matter and makes the case for benefit to communities
  • BCP Sec Gen Kekgonegile calls Bill “a grave threat” in letter to British Parliament
  • President Masisi despatched delegation to lobby against restriction in Europe


Botswana opposition parties are divided in the ongoing debate about a potential ban on importation of hunting trophies into the United Kingdom (UK).

The Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill seeks to ban importation of legally obtained wildlife trophies from Botswana and other African countries such as Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.

It was due for the second reading in the House of Lords on 22 March 2024.

The dreaded restriction could gain wider currency because the European Union (EU) is rallying member states to do the same.


A delegation led by the Minister of Tourism, Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, was despatched to Europe by President Mokgweetsi Masisi earlier this month to lobby against the Bill being passed in the UK and the restriction spreading wider across Europe.

The position of the Government of Botswana is that trophy hunting has benefits to communities living with wildlife.

While the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has not fully dismissed of the rewards that come with trophy hunting, it has noted that photographic tourism has also contributed to some of these communities.


The UDC also emphasises that jobs have also been created from photographic tourism. Some elements within the opposition coalition believe that officially supporting the Bill could prove detrimental to their electability.

This is especially so constituencies in the North East and Ngamiland districts where most of the communities depend on fees from trophy hunting. “It is a very sensitive matter,” said a source within the UDC.

“There should be a lot of engagement and consultation before the UDC takes a position. Remember that the constituencies are now in the hands of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP).”

A grave threat

Meanwhile, the BCP shares the same position as government’s on the matter. On 18 March 2024, the Secretary General of the BCP, Goretetse Kekgonegile, wrote to the Speaker of the British Parliament arguing against the ban on the importation of trophies.

“It is a fact that a blanket ban on trophy hunting would be a grave threat to sustainable socio-benefits to communities residing alongside wildlife,” he wrote.

“Currently, wildlife population overwhelms the carrying capacity of areas they occupy.

“As a consequence, (there are) complicated dynamics of wildlife conservation in Botswana, given the high prevalence of human-wildlife conflict due to the growing incidence of crop degradation, loss of life and competition for essential resources such as water.”