The Herald (Harare)

13 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Save Conservancy - Traditional Leaders Speak Out

Traditional leaders in and around the Save Valley Conservancy have vowed to scuttle the Germans' plan to translocate animals from the conservancy to Gonarezhou Trans-Frontier Park. This followed reports that the German government was planning to fund the translocation of animals from conservancies owned by Germans in the Save Valley Conservancy to the giant frontier park.

However, there are indications that the Germans want to translocate the animals to Mozambique as a way of skirting the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive that Government has embarked on.

"There is no way I am going to allow the translocation of animals from the conservancy in my area to any other place," said Chief Mabika whose area of jurisdiction stretches from Bikita into the Save Valley Conservancy.

Chief Mabika is also Senator for Masvingo.

The Governments of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe last year officially launched the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Trans-Frontier Park.

Said Chief Mabika; "We want our subjects to benefit from the conservancy through the indigenisation programme (share ownership schemes) that has been implemented in other areas. We want the exercise to be done in the area as a matter of urgency. My subjects are wallowing in poverty yet they can eke a living out of these animals."

Chairman for Village 9 in ward 24 of Chiredzi, Mr Dzingirai Hama said they heard reports that the Germans wanted to move animals from the conservancy.

"We heard about the reports that they wanted to remove animals from here," said Mr Hama whose village is in the conservancy.

"But we are saying that is not going to happen because these are our animals, our heritage. These white people found the animals here so if they don't want Government policies being implemented, then they should just leave us with our animals.

"We are not benefiting anything at the moment so we would want indigenisation to be implemented here as well."

Mr Hama said proceeds from the conservancy were supposed to benefit villagers in and around the conservancy through developmental projects such as schools, clinics, roads and irrigation schemes.

According to sources, Germany's Economic and Co-operation Minister Dirk Niebel told Vice President Joice Mujuru last week when he paid a courtesy call on her that his Government wanted to fund the translocation of the animals.

However, sources who attended the meeting said VP Mujuru told the Germany Minister that they were supposed to be concerned with uplifting the lives of people around the Save Valley Conservancy than to be worried about animals.

Headman for Matsai in Chiremwaremwa area in Bikita, Mr Rodgers Nerwande whose village borders the Save Valley Conservancy, said they wanted Government to intervene to make sure villagers around the conservancy benefited.

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