By Nation Reporter
THE Siavonga Magistrates Court yesterday passed two controversial judgements in a case involving 21 Zimbabwean fishermen who were arrested for straying into Zambian waters on Lake Kariba.
Eleven of the 21 fishermen who appeared before Magistrate Victoria Chitobangoma were ordered to K600 each or in default serve 8 months in imprisonment with hard labour while the other group of 10 who appeared before a different Magistrate were last week sentenced to 12 months in prison.
In the first count the 21 Zimbabwean fishermen are charged with the one count of failing to appear before the Zambian immigration officers when they entered Zambia through the international waters of Lake Kariba on 20th march this year,
In count two the accused are charged with the offence of fishing in Zambian waters without a license contrary to the laws of Zambia.
It was alleged that between 16 and 20 march this year the 21 fishermen entered Zambia and docked their fishing rigs near twin islands in Siavonga District without authority which is against the immigration ACT. It is also alleged that the Zimbabwean Fishermen where found fishing without fishing licenses from the Department of fisheries.
Cases of Illegal entry by both Zambian and Zimbabwean fishermen on the international waters has become rampant between the two long time southern Africa neighbours which residents in the two countries blame non-availability of proper boundary markings.
Some residents have also accused the Zimbabwean authorities of heavy handedness in dealing with Zambians that were caught fishing and poaching in that country.
On Friday two Zambians were allegedly shot dead by Zimbabwe Parks warders in Kariba Town while four others were arrested and sentenced to 14 months to imprisonment with hard labor for fishing on the Zimbabwean side of Lake Kariba.