Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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SundayView: Mismanagement threatens national asset — wildlife

SundayView: Mismanagement threatens national asset — wildlife

Sunday, 30 October 2011 13:45

By Tarisai Shumba

Statistics show that Zimbabwe still has an incredible 28% of its total 
landmass set aside for wildlife areas and made up as follows:

lAbout 14% for National Parks,

lAbout 12% for Campfire and Forestry

lSome 1,9% for Conservancies.

Unfortunately, though, only conservancies have been able to generate income 
and, thus, manage their wildlife assets as well as tourism and hunting 
infrastructures to maximise the use of these assets. Due to the abysmal 
reputation of Zimbabwe as an international tou rism destinations even 
conservancies have difficulties of making ends meet.

National Parks and Campfire have not fared any better. National Park’s camps 
and lodges are in poor condition as are roads and water supply for the 

Proactive game management normally includes game counts and aerial surveys. 
Few, if any of, such management tools have been applied in the state-owned 
assets for some time now. Therefore, understanding the composition of 
wildlife herds; initiating conservation and proactive management practises 
are difficult, if not impossible. Compare this to running a business without 
a regular stocktake of stocks and assets and no auditing of financial 
statements: Management and owners would run around like headless chickens 
and unable to make responsible decisions. That is the situation prevailing 
in National Parks.

As stated by one of the former director generals: “About 90% of all income 
in parks is derived from hunting concessions sold in National Parks. Hunting 
in National Parks? This must be a Zimbabwe special!

Generally, National Parks are kept for the appreciation and recreation of 
the local population as well as overseas guests, not for hunting safaris. 
Parks should therefore earn entry fees if their offer of what to see and how 
to enjoy is acceptable. The latter is clearly not the case; otherwise why 
would the tourism gate receipts amount to less than 10% of revenue?

As admitted by PWMA director general, Vitalis Chadenga, and what is now 
public knowledge, Zimbabwe has lost about 80% of its national wildlife in 
the past 12 years.

While Chadenga is in charge only since early last year, his minister Francis 
Nhema has held the portfolio of Environment for over 12 years. A minister 
who has overseen the destruction of the largest asset under his control, an 
asset that is a national as well as international heritage must be named a 
national failure. But he is still in cabinet and allowed to continue 
mismanaging his portfolio.

We have recently received the: Ministry of Environment And Natural Resources 
Management, Strategic Plan 2: 2011 – 2015

Indeed, the plan makes good reading. But the plan’s implementation is 
chaired by a minister and his staff who have the dubious record of 
destroying the assets under their control. What credibility, if any, does 
this plan have, therefore?

Mismanagement is not countered by making a good plan but by firing the 
management which failed and by appointing new and credible managers, in this 
case politicians, who will work on and implement an industry embracing 
Strategic Plan.

Unless drastic changes are forthcoming in heading and manning the Ministry 
of Environment, the national asset of wildlife will continue to be 

Wildlife-based tourism accounts for over 10% of GDP and employment. Will 
this government; this Cabinet leave the fate of such a large contributor to 
Zimbabweans wellbeing in the hands of incompetent politicians who have 
proved beyond doubt that they have no interest or ability of managing their 
responsibility for our National asset of wildlife?


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