Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Mujuru summons ministers over wildlife park seizure

Mujuru summons ministers over wildlife park seizure

29/08/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZANU PF officials accused of trying to seize the vast Save Valley 
Conservancy vowed to stay put Wednesday as Vice President Joice Mujuru and 
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai summoned the Environment and Tourism 
ministers in a bid to resolve the dispute.

Environment Minister Francis Nhema is backing “indigenisation” of the prized 
3,400 square-kilometre wildlife reserve in the south-east Lowveld of 
Zimbabwe, but Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi accuses his colleague of 
“promoting greed” by parcelling the park out to 25 individuals, most of them 
Zanu PF officials who also benefitted from the country’s land reforms.

Tsvangirai and Mujuru met both ministers Tuesday as the government scrambled 
for s solution to the saga amid threats of aid withdrawal by the European 

“We have been advised to go and look into the matter. We will bring all 
parties involved together to find a last­ing solution,” Nhema said after the 

“All I can say is the matter has been resolved amicably and Minister Nhema 
will make an appropriate state­ment at the right time,” Mzembi added.

But Zanu PF legislators Ailess Baloyi (Chiredzi South), Ronald Ndama 
(Chiredzi North) and the party’s provincial chair­man for Masvingo, Lovemore 
Matuke, who are leading the 25 individuals given land and hunting leases on 
the reserve, vowed to stay put.

Baloyi charged: “What we are trying to do is correct the historic imbalances 
caused by colo­nialism and opening up opportu­nities for blacks in Zimbabwe.

“We are the rightful players in the Save Valley Conservancy because we have 
the leases and the other guys do not have anything.”

He denied allegations that their involvement in the project would threaten 
wildlife, put thousands of jobs at risk and negatively impact efforts to 
successfully host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General 
Assembly next year.

“We are seeing a replay of the kind of propaganda that was used by the Ian 
Smith regime. We have tried to engage our part­ners with little joy. They 
were adamant that they do not want to see us,” he said.

“No one will lose their jobs and no one will be chased off the land. We want 
to engage them to find a solution to the impasse.”

Matuke said local communities have not benefited from the project and 
blasted Minister Mzembi for resisting their involvement.
“The surrounding communities have not benefited anything except meat and the 
people would not benefit from the 10 percent the farmers are offering,” he 

“They are trying to reverse the gains of independence. We are unhappy with 
the minister; maybe he has a different agenda but he should listen to what 
the people on the ground are saying.”

Running along the banks of the Save River, the conservancy – respected as a 
leader in wildlife management and research – is collectively controlled by 
international investors, white ranchers who formerly ran cattle on the land, 
local black businessmen and hundreds of rural farmers.

“It is a working example of how something really special can be a success, 
by including all sectors of the community, especially the rural poor who 
have previously got nothing out of wildlife,” said Wilfried Pabst, a German 
businessman who is vice-chair of the conservancy.

Pabst rejected accusations that the reserve is opposed to ensuring a fair 
deal for blacks.
“Two-thirds of stakeholders of the conservancy are black. It is now being 
threatened by a collection of greedy individuals who are bringing nothing 
into the conservancy and will destroy it,” he said. 


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