20 November 2012

Zambia: Review Wildlife Act - Masebo

THE Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Act should be reviewed because it works against certain traditional practices, Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo has said.

Ms Masebo cited wearing of ivory bangles as one such traditional practice affected by the ZAWA Act.

The minister said people in Western Province had been wearing ivory bracelets for a long time and that ZAWA had not sensitised such people to register their bangles in line with the current Act.

She was speaking in Livingstone at the weekend when she addressed tour operators.

Ms Masebo said there was need to ensure that the ZAWA Act did not interfere with traditions of the local people.

"I have found that the ZAWA Act is a bad law and we need to make it user friendly. For instance, I have ivory bangles that I bought in 1975 and ZAWA wants me to have a licence for them now," Ms Masebo said.

She said the Government would review the ZAWA Act and policy so that it was user friendly.

Ms Masebo said the process of getting a licence from ZAWA was also not easy as one needed to travel to Chilanga District.

Meanwhile, Ms Masebo said the Zambezi River frontage should be accessible to the local people so that they could take their livestock and do fishing.

"It is not right for you as lodge owners to close up the river frontage. According to the Country and Town Planning Act, no one is allowed to close up the river frontage.

"The river frontage is not exclusive to tour operations only. It is only that the city planners have gone to sleep," she said.

Ms Masebo said in the past, there had been corruption and people ended up getting the river frontage for themselves.

She said the Government was trying to sort out the issue of yellow fever and that the Ministry of Health was making progress.

"The issue of yellow fever is something that has to do with international politics we play each other sometimes to slow each other down internationally. The Government will resolve the yellow fever matter within the next six weeks," Ms Masebo said.

Frederek Wilson, a consultant for Kubu Crafts, said the entry fees and insurance fees for tourists entering Zambia were too high.

Mr Wilson said the restriction in the use of Zambian Kwacha for domestic transactions had simplified local transactions.

He said that 99 per cent of the money that the operators were making was being used in the country.

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