Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Conservancies: who got what?

Conservancies: who got what?

The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi, is one of 
the biggest beneficiaries of the shady conservancy allotment exercise that 
has attracted international condemnation.

by Thabani Dube

The Zimbabwean is in possession of a leaked updated document showing the 
allocation of wildlife properties as at 15 June 2011. It lists Mzembi as 
sharing the 16,975ha Eaglemont property in Chiredzi with one Noel Farai, 
lease valid from 2008 to 2033.

Some countries have pointed out that the looting frenzy is in violation of 
bilateral investment and property protection agreements between, with the EU 
suggesting a tightening of targeted sanctions on individuals involved.

Mzembi has condemned the grabbing of conservancies by his counterparts in 
Zanu (PF), saying it drove away tourists and tarnished the country’s image. 
But Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister, Francis Nhema, 
told The Zimbabwean that people should desist from “making a storm in a tea 
cup” about it.

“Before 2000, these conservancies were run by a few individuals and now they 
have been given to the masses. This will not affect tourism at all. The 
media should rather be advocating against open defecation which has a more 
bearing on tourist arrivals than concentrating on these conservancies.”

Other Zanu (PF) bigwigs named as beneficiaries of the takeover of 
conservancies include Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa (6,210 ha of 
Moreena Farm, a Midlands black rhino conservancy), former Deputy Minister 
Obert Matshalaga (2,000 ha of South Shangani Farm Subdivision), Provincial 
Governor Machaya (3,278 ha of Pitscottie Farm) and Cephas Msipa, a former 
governor with 3,043 ha on South Shangani, another black rhino conservancy.

The list includes 69 properties in Masvingo leased to more than 250 Zanu 
(PF) beneficiaries while the Midlands has 24 and Matabeleland North and 
South provinces seven. The leaseholders were charged an administration fee 
of $200 for the properties.

The document does not say how the properties were identified or whether the 
erstwhile owners will be compensated. Mzembi has recently been under fire 
from party colleagues, particularly in Masvingo, who accuse him of selling 
out on the party.

The schedule includes a substantial number of chiefs and people bearing the 
same surnames as Zanu (PF) beneficiaries, indicating the possibility of 
nepotism. Common names appearing include the Malulekes, Baloyis and Hungwes 
from Masvingo and Nkomos from Matabeleland.

Other beneficiaries

Senior party official July Moyo, Vice President John Nkomo, Joshua Malinga, 
Manicaland party stalwart Enock Pourisingazi, Attorney General Johannes 
Tomana, Army chief of staff, Major General Engelbert Rugeje, Masvingo. 
Provincial Governor and Resident Minister, Titus Maluleke, former governor 
Josiah Hungwe, Shuvai Mahof a and Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, the COPAC 
co-chairperson, Paul Chimedza, Fortune Charumbira, leader of Chiefs’ 
Council. The majority of these beneficiaries are already on the EU sanctions 
list, but if the bloc were to go ahead and include the rest, it would see a 
ballooning of the number of affected Zanu (PF) members. 


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