16 August 2012

Zimbabwe: Illegal Hunting at Zanu-PF Controlled Savuli Ranch

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) has issued a public warning that illegal hunting activities are taking place at a wildlife ranch in the Save Valley Conservancy, as the 'indigenisation' of the hunting sector continues.

The Savuli Ranch has been taken over by female war vet called Shuvai Mahofa who was illegally granted a 25 year lease for the property by National Parks, who are not entitled to issue such leases.

The High Court of Zimbabwe this year ruled on the illegality of Mahofa's claim, stating that the legal owners of the Ranch, Forever African Safaris, should not be interfered with.

This has made no difference and Mahofa has already evicted the owners and their employees. A white farmer who has previously been accused of working with Mahofa, has now moved on to the Savuli Ranch and is operating under Impala Safaris.

The farmer, Ken Drummond, was earlier this year implicated in a campaign to intimidate the remaining white farmers in the Chiredzi and Hippo Valley area. SW Radio Africa reported in January that Drummond had teamed up with a war vet called Francis Zimuto, who calls himself Black Jesus, in the illegal takeover of properties there. Zimuto in turn was understood to be working on Mahofa's orders.

Mahofa is also one of the recent beneficiaries of a hunting licence that has been granted to indigenous 'farmers', who include other top ZANU PF officials like Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke and Education Minister Stan Mudenge.

According to the ZCTF Mahofa has issued Drummond a hunting quota as part of her licence, and hunting is already well under way. Drummond has been posting pictures of the Savuli Camp and of several hunting trophies on the website of Impala Safaris, which in turn is owned and run by a man called Arnold Palmer.

"We would like to inform any prospective clients that Arnold Palmer, Ken Drummond, and Impala Safaris are acting completely illegally. This is the opinion of the High Court of Zimbabwe set down in their recent judgement. Sadly, their judgement has been completely ignored and the wholesale slaughter of animals on Savuli continues," the ZCTF warned.

ZCTF chairman Johnny Rodrigues told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the new hunting licences are merely a "show of appreciation" to ZANU PF officials and have nothing to do with the indiginisation of the hunting or wildlife sectors.

"If they wanted to indigenise, then they should give theses licenses to local people who already work on the conservancies and know what it is all about. These people (the new recipients) know nothing," Rodrigues said.

He added: "This is going to destroy tourism and destroy the hunting sector. There will be no animals left."

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