Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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EU threatens to withdraw UN meeting funding

EU threatens to withdraw UN meeting funding

30/08/2012 00:00:00
by Garikai Chaunza

THE European Union (EU) has threatened to pull the plug on funding for next 
year’s United Nations World Tourism Organisation congress over the recent 
seizure of a local wildlife conservancy by politicians linked to Zanu PF.

Zimbabwe is set to jointly host the event with Zambia at the Victoria Falls 
resort but EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia warned Thursday 
funding four the congress could be withdrawn the prized 3,400 
square-kilometre Save Valley Conservancy in the Lowveld.

“In general terms what is happening in Save Valley conservancy is a major 
blow to the credibility of the country and its image worldwide,” 
Dell’Ariccia said.

“This is where we find a certain incompatibility given the fact that on one 
side the country will host the UN tourism general assembly which would of 
course improve Zimbabwe’s image; but on the other hand it is taking a 
decision locally which goes against that idea.

“Honestly there is an incompatibility there and since there are European 
citizens involved in this matter and for us it is an issue which we are 
taking very seriously and we are very much concerned”.

Environment Minister Francis Nhema drew fire from cabinet colleagues after 
he handed land and hunting leases to 25 individuals, most of them Zanu PF 
officials who also benefited from the country’s land reforms.

Nhema argues that the conservancy, which critics claims is run by an 
exclusively white membership, should comply with the country’s economic 
empowerment policies but Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi accused his 
colleague of “promoting greed” and undermining one of the sectors credited 
with helping the country’s economy recover.

Mzembi charged: “It is wrong to have minority ownership of conservancies, 
but it is even more unpardonable to replace that minority white with a 
minority black, in the face of a crisis of expectations and thirst for 
empowerment from our black majority.

“This business of empowering people who are already empowered severally in 
other sectors, such as farming, ranching, sugar cane farming, mining, etc, 
will not pass the moral test nor will it endear us to the people except to 

The government has been scrambling to resolve the dispute with Vice 
President Joice Mujuru and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai summoning the 
two ministers to meetings over the issue this week.

Members of the conservancy deny allegations it is dominated and warn that 
forcing in new members could imperil wildlife conservation efforts and well 
as put at risk thousands of jobs.

“Two-thirds of stakeholders of the conservancy are black (But) it is now 
being threatened by a collection of greedy individuals who are bringing 
nothing into the conservancy and will destroy it,” aid Wilfried Pabst, a 
German businessman who is vice-chair of the conservancy.

Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party also condemned disturbances at the conservancy.
“The Save Conservancy is home to thousands of animal species, most of which 
already face extinction due to poaching and hunting. There is need to 
protect our animals and the indigenous people who have lived in close 
proximity with these animals, protecting them to make a living,” the party 
said in a statement Thursday.

“The MDC believes that a genuine broad-based economic upliftment programme, 
which balances the need to attract investment, grow the economy and create 
jobs for all, must be developed to protect the country from further Zanu PF 

Founded in 1991 and running along the Save River, the conservancy is a 
habitat for elephant, zebra, giraffe, as well as the country’s second 
largest surviving population of endangered black rhinoceros. The area also 
supports an array of African antelope and most species of birds and small 


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