Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Conservancy land ‘beneficiary’ in poaching claim

Conservancy land ‘beneficiary’ in poaching claim

By Alex Bell
26 October 2012

One of the ZANU PF ‘beneficiaries’ of conservancy land leases and hunting 
licences is reportedly being investigated for poaching, as the future of the 
Save Valley Conservancy remains unclear.

Former ZANU PF Minister and ‘war vet’ Shuvai Mahofa, referred to as the 
Masvingo ‘Iron Lady’, is reportedly being investigated after a butchery she 
allegedly runs in Gutu was raided by police. According to a NewsDay article, 
three buffalo carcasses and other game meat was discovered.

Mahofa was one of a group of mainly ZANU PF linked individuals who were 
granted a hunting licence by National Parks in August. She and the group of 
so-called ‘indigenous farmers’ were given the licences and 25 year land 
leases as part of the ZANU PF led indigenisation campaign.

Those who were handed leases at Save Valley include war vets leader Joseph 
Chinotimba, Major General Gibson Mashingaidze, Major General Engelbert 
Rugeje, Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister Titus Maluleke, ZANU PF 
Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke, the late Higher Education 
Minister Stan Mudenge, Health Deputy Minister Douglas Mombeshora; ZANU PF 
central committee member Enock Porusingazi and ZANU PF MPs Alois Baloyi, 
Abraham Sithole, Samson Mukanduri and Noel Mandebvu.

The group last year formed the ‘Masvingo Initiative’ which led a campaign of 
intimidation and harassment against various land owners in the province. 
During this campaign Mahofa seized the Savuli Ranch and this year evicted 
the owners and their employees.

Mahofa has since given permission to some safari operators to hunt on Savuli 
Ranch, granting them hunting quotas according to her newly issued licence. 
Mahofa’s brother is understood to be a known bush meat trader and sources 
have told SW Radio Africa that their butchery business in Gutu has been 
thriving ever since Mahofa was given her hunting licence.

Some observers have suggested that targeting Mahofa is a result of ZANU PF 
infighting she has now become tangled in. The saga around the Save Valley 
has already pitted some members of ZANU PF against each other, with the 
Walter Mzembi led Tourism Ministry facing off against Environment Minister 
Francis Nhema.

Mzembi has suggested that the licences should be withdrawn until a full 
investigation is done. It’s understood his position is one of damage 
limitation ahead of the scheduled UN World Tourism Organisation conference 
set for Victoria Falls next year. The situation at Save Valley Conservancy 
has added to widespread criticism of Zimbabwe acting as the host of the 
international meeting.

Nhema meanwhile has previously backed the handing over of the licences as a 
progressive move for indigenisation. He has slammed Mzembi in interviews for 
trying to change the situation.

Both Ministers were meanwhile part of a committee set up by the ZANU PF 
politburo to try and calm tensions around the situation at the conservancy. 
The committee was asked to look into the possibility of turning the 
conservancy into a national park, which would effectively see the leases 
being withdrawn. But, since its appointment, the committee has failed to 

Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told 
SW Radio Africa that withdrawal the leases and putting a moratorium on 
hunting was the best way to tackle the ongoing problem of poaching and 
illegal hunting. He said a proper audit needs to be completed to ensure 
hunting is controlled.

He meanwhile said that plans to turn the Conservancy into a national park 
are part of efforts by the authorities to “hoodwink” people, into believing 
that the situation is under control.

“They are trying to show the world that they are in control, particularly 
with the UN meeting happening next year. But the reality is if the situation 
is not brought under control, then we won’t have any wildlife left,” 
Rodrigues warned.


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