Analysis Of The Article “Killing Poachers: Good Or Bad Policy” In Terms Of Public Policy Concepts
This paper seeks to explain a newspaper article titled “killing poachers: good or bad policy” and to explain how it particularly relates to public policy concepts. Robert Eyestone (1971) defines public policy as, “the relationship between governmental organs and their environment” It is indeed evident enough that he was influenced by the science of ecological administration.
Botswana takes pride in its adverse economic drivers such as agriculture, beef, mining and tourism. The country births unique natural resources that add a significant advantage to the tourism sector. Botswana embraces her wildlife which is why it’s doing everything in its power to curb anti-poaching in the country. Poaching poses a serious threat to the biodiversity, socio-economic conditions and national security – especially for countries that depend on tourism as the main generator of revenue. The Botswana government considers poaching an act of war.
Moving forward to try redress this issue is that the government had introduced an anti-poaching policy entitled “shoot to kill” which its main mandate is to kill poachers on the site of poaching. This policy is to deter poachers by threat of death. The policy however remains a mysterious one in the sense that although it exists and very much alive it is an unwritten policy that was shrouded in secrecy and even to date the source of its legality as well as the identity of the individual who authorized it remains unknown. The parliament has not raised a substantive question about this particular policy, secondly the permanent secretary in the ministry of defense, justice and security has denied that there is such policy in Botswana that gives anti-poaching security forces to shoot and kill poaching suspects upon seeing them. Furthermore just as laws and policies are published in the Government Gazette and fully explained to members of the public – MPs included because they are the ones who are expected to obey them that never happened with the shoot-to-kill policy. Moreover this policy has raised a lot of controversies, it has seen to pose threats to human rights-the right to life and most people view it as a way of undermining the rule of law which stipulates that “no one is guilty until proven in the court of law” this is to communicate that poachers have the right to be heard before the court of law than to just have their lives taken away without appearance before courts where judgment should be served. Another thing to it is that it has managed to create tension between local communities and wildlife hence human-wildlife conflicts and this highly highlights that the government is therefore prioritizing conservation over human welfare. These disputations escalate to ruining international peace as a number of Namibians and Zimbabweans were killed who were suspected to have been poaching. The Namibian government added that this decision to come up with such policy without their involvement was quite premature; it is without doubt that this policy has stirred border tensions between Botswana and its fellow neighbors. However this policy was of recent revoked by the now leading president His Excellency Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi who disarmed the anti-poaching unit right after taking office.
What constitute to an effective public policy are its steps or rather stages and making sure that they are followed. Problem identification and policy formulation are displayed in the newspaper article, the very important being the initial step which is that of problem identification. It is evident in the newspaper article as it has been able to identify the problem being illegal poaching. Having realized its main problem the government chose to formulate the shoot-to-kill policy which it believed would help lower the rates of poaching in Botswana. Ever since the government enacted the policy, poaching rates did not wholly disappear but they slowly declined. Furthermore budgeting as one stage encompassed in the policy cycle to ensure that there is no budget deficit on resources to make a policy successful. That is why the policy was funded with close to P200 000 by the Chinese embassy which also donated equipment all equating to millions of pula’s to make this policy a success. The policy was weak in terms of its legitimacy, policy legitimation is lacking in this policy. As already discussed above the shoot-to-kill policy was conspirators as it was not even legitimatized or authorized by the Ministry of defense, justice and security for example. Policy Maintenance, Succession or Termination are the last stages in the policy making cycle. Above all it is evident that the policy was able to follow the evaluation step. After implementation of policies, full assessment of the policy and weighing both its negative and positive impacts as well as its relevance. This may result in their continuation, amendment or termination. The shoot to kill policy was later evoked by the president after insinuating that it was just a tool of destruction. It was evaluated and officially cancelled with the believe that there can still be other anti-poaching preventive measures which do not necessarily have to be killing people and hurting international relationships by creating boarder tensions in the process.
The rational model is prevalent in this article. This model is all about weighing policy preferences and adhering to the most efficient policy alternative looking at its costs and benefits. The shoot to kill policy drained in a lot of money as special equipment were used by the defense force as a way of ensuring that they are always armed to deal with poachers. The benefits were however greater than the costs as the policy managed to address the issue of anti-poaching, during the years of the existence of the policy poaching of rhinos and elephants were of lower rates. Secondly is the manifestation of the elite model, this policy was led and influenced by a group of highly influential leaders. The elite are self-centered “beasts” who hold so much power and only reflect their values and interest. Important to note is that the group model is lacking in the newspaper. This model basically talks about how individuals, stakeholders and bureaucrats to name a few get involved in governmental decisions, being able to participate and given the opportunity to adversely express their viewpoints. According to Anderson (2014), to have influence and be able to help shape governmental decisions, a group must have access or perhaps the opportunity to contact or express their viewpoints to decision makers. A disadvantage of this model is that many people are poorly represented in the group struggle. This is encountered in the shoot to kill policy as it lacked an element of transparency. As already touched on is that the policy was of classified nature and the roots of a policy by nature is that a policy is supposed to be dispatched to citizens so that they are sensitized and also have a feel of what the policy is all about however this policy lacked that. Moreover a public policy should have purpose, be responsive, authorative, the ability to resolve conflicts and lastly have public input.
The article has loopholes on certain concepts like that of authority and being able to resolve conflicts. This is so because the policy ended up causing boarder tensions between Botswana and its neighboring countries being Namibia and Zimbabwe, in addition to that conflicts between human life and wildlife rose. In conclusion the policy has raised arguments amongst citizens of Botswana and across international borders. Some are for and against the shoot to kill policy, multitudes of people praised it while some are ecstatic that it is no more. From a personal point of view this policy is excellent as it did help ease poaching, it made poachers think twice on the thought of being killed therefore many poachers stepped back.
Botswana heavily relies on tourism to generate income into the country, both locals and foreigners pay lots of money to view the very same wildlife that’s on demand by these poachers and the government is fighting tirelessly to preserve them. If it sits back and lets these precious wild animals be killed at accelerating numbers what will be left for Batswana? The future generation? Sustainable development fosters for the conservation of natural resources, fauna and flora inclusive and most importantly what will the country rely on economically? If something is of value to one and weighs so much benefits it is safe guarded and treasured, let the same be done to these wildlife.
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