Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Masvingo officials invade Save Valley conservancy

Masvingo officials invade Save Valley conservancy

By Alex Bell
22 August 2012

ZANU PF has kicked its campaign to seize control of the Save Valley 
Conservancy into high gear, after officials in Masvingo invaded the area on 
Wednesday morning.

Masvingo Governor Titus Maluleke, Chiredzi South MP Aaron Baloyi and a gang 
of thugs, stormed into a technical meeting between the Conservancy chiefs 
and National Parks that was taking place on the Conservancy grounds on 
Wednesday. The group is understood to have bullied its way in and insisted 
it was taking over control of Save Valley.

Conservancy Vice Chair Wilfried Pabst told SW Radio Africa that the group 
“screamed and hollered,” and attempted to strip him and the Chair of the 
Conservancy of their positions.

“They voted me down as Vice Chair. Our Chairman was also voted down. Of 
course it is all ridiculous and there is no legal base for it. But either 
way they have jambanja’d the Save Valley,” Pabst said.

The Masvingo Governor and MP Baloyi have since last year been spearheading a 
ZANU PF led campaign of ‘indigenisation’ in the province, dubbed the 
‘Masvingo Initiative’, with the intention of grabbing land. Also included in 
this group is Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge, former 
governor Josiah Hungwe, and former MP Enock Porusingazi.

Army boss Engelbert Rugeje, National Parks head Vitalis Chadenga, and former 
MP and war vet Shuvai Mahofa, were last year also fingered by whistleblower 
website WikiLeaks as being part of the Masvingo land grab. The ‘Initiative’ 
insisted it was installing local Zimbabweans as land owners as part of the 
country indigenisation campaign.

Maluleke, Mudenge and Mahofa are now also among a group of ZANU PF officials 
recently granted hunting licences in the Conservancy by Chadenga. 
Conservationists have warned that this could have a devastating effect on 
the wildlife and hunting sector. The authorities have also cancelled the 
operations of current hunting and safari groups.

The Save Valley Conservancy has called the handover of the new hunting 
licenses a ‘criminal act’ that has nothing to do with genuine indigenisation 
efforts. Pabst explained on Wednesday that a number of proposals, aimed at 
empowering local Zimbabweans and genuinely indigenising the Conservancy have 
been drafted, but the authorities have never engaged with them.

He added that the same group that has now been granted hunting licences, 
were previously approached about joint venture options in the Conservancy, 
but they insisted they wanted “cash on the table.”

“Two thirds of the Conservancy is indigenised but the problem is the black 
indigenous partners we have are not the card carrying members that these 
Masvingo officials would like,” Pabst explained.

He added that there is no legislation allowing the take over of Zimbabwe’s 
conservancies, because the areas “are not subject to indigenisation or land 
reform policies.” He said the activity at Save Valley is illegal and a 
serious threat to the country’s economic future.

“We, as foreign investors, cannot be involved in a country’s tourism or 
wildlife efforts if at some time rogue people are coming and taking our 
assets,” Pabst said. 


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