Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Save Conservancy: Demanding broad based empowerment

Save Conservancy: Demanding broad based empowerment

September 24, 2012 in Opinion
They are speaking out now aren’t they, the people and community of Chiredzi 
who constitute part of Zimbabwe’s critical indigenous majority. Their voices 
are now being heard above the whispers of discontent and simmering 
disillusionment over indigenisation within the Save Valley Conservancy. 
Their chiefs have boldly declared that they will not have anything less than 
the broad-based economic empowerment which will guarantee them 
socio-economic benefit from the exploitation of their wild life-based 
natural resource.

It is encouraging to see indigenous Zimbabweans beginning to engage 
indigenisation and economic empowerment, to participate and demand that its 
broad-based objective and intent be fulfilled.
A recent publication gives an account of the socio-economic plight of the 
people and communities in Chiredzi who face starvation and the indignity of 
relying on food aid.

To the credit of the current Save Valley Conservancy members they did, as 
early 2006, engage the Ministry of Environment and the National Parks and 
Wildlife Management Authority with plans to bring increased benefit to 
neighbouring communities. Yet the only real response now making the 
headlines today is the allocation of licences to a few individuals said to 
be largely from Masvingo, far divorced geographically from the communities 
living around the conservancy.

It is imminent that those mandated with implementing broad-based economic 
empowerment, across all sectors of government, must adopt a “dictatorship of 
the economy” on matters of indigenisation and economic empowerment. Such 
“dictatorship” will be legitimised and democratised by the majority of 
indigenous Zimbabweans now demanding that indigenisation and economic 
empowerment is not hijacked by a few individuals, but must benefit the 

It is ill-advised to hound Tourism and Hospitality minister, Walter Mzembi, 
for prioritising broad-based economic empowerment in the Save Valley 
Conservancy, at a time when Zimbabwe prepares to host the United Nations 
World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in 2013.

The UNWTO General Assembly shall place Zimbabwe’s tourism sector at the 
centre of international attention. Yet already, the individualism and greed 
being portrayed in the Save Valley Conservancy debacle are reflecting a bad 
image and giving new ammunition to the very foreign economic forces still 
very much committed to having us abandon indigenisation in its totality. 
Already the EU’s ambassador to Zimbabwe warned of a boycot of the UNWTO 
General Assembly and more sanctions being imposed against Zimbabwe because 
of the parcelling out of the conservancy.

Clearly, anything other than a community-based approach in the Save Valley 
Conservancy flies in the face of not only the very principle of empowerment 
but also in the international law provisions that would otherwise support 
our indigenisation programme at a time when ulterior forces would have such 
programme brought to a halt.

The cost of causing disillusionment among a now expectant indigenous 
majority must not be miscalculated. We cannot raise the hopes of a long 
socio-economically deprived people only to immediately dash such hopes 
against the rock of individualism, greed, corruption; more-so in such a 
programme that is by its very nature broad-based and must benefit to the 
majority. The national interest that defines us all, especially those 
appointed as custodians of such interest, is that of an economic 
emancipation programme that will ensure sustainable socio-economic benefit 
to the majority indigenous Zimbabweans, and with it stability for our nation 
birthed from racial socio-economic prejudice.

Rangu Nyamurundira is a lawyer and indigenisation/empowerment consultant 
based in Harare.


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