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Zanu ministers clash over Save

Zanu ministers clash over Save

Two Zanu (PF) cabinet ministers, Walter Mzembi and Francis Nhema, have 
clashed over how to treat the Save Valley conservancies, further exposing 
acrimony within the party and President Robert Mugabe’s growing 

by Staff Reporter

The allocation of conservancies have caused an uproar among environmental 
experts, former owners and foreign embassies who are concerned that the 
grabbing of the wildlife plots by Zanu (PF) members is detrimental to the 
economy and environment, in addition to being a violation of private 
property rights.

The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Francis Nhema 
insists that the issuing of 25-year leases and hunting licenses to more than 
300 Zanu (PF)-linked beneficiaries was part of the government’s 
indigenisation and empowerment programme.

Bad for tourism

However , Walter Mzembi , Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry 
argues grabbing the conservancies is bad for tourism. He also told The 
Zimbabwean that the list of beneficiaries is null and void as only 37 
beneficiaries got leases and hunting licenses at the expense of the 
community and tourist industry.

“Before 2000, these conservancies were run by a few white individuals and 
now they have been given to the masses. This will not affect tourism at 
all,” said Nhema in a recent interview with The Zimbabwean.

Mzembi said the way the conservancies were re-allocated was wrong.

“I am not against indigenisation and empowerment but why can we not 
distribute the conservancies using a broad-based system and stop focusing on 
a few rich individuals who have been benefiting again and again?” said 

This is seen as a direct attack on the Zanu (PF)-initiated indigenisation 

Mzembi, who has already clashed with party bigwigs in Masvingo province over 
the seizure of the conservancies, is seen as representing an independent 
crop of growing Zanu (PF) Young Turks eager to shed the old way of handling 

Party divisions

According to reliable sources, the controversy surrounding the conservancies 
has sharply divided the party.

The supreme decision-making body, the politburo, has been forced to set up a 
special committee to investigate the parcelling out of the conservancies.

However, due to serious differences, the committee is yet to start its work.

Nhema leads the committee, which also comprises Mzembi, the Minister of 
Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Ignatius Chombo and the 
Minister for Lands and Rural Settlement, Herbert Murerwa.

“The committee was formed four weeks ago and I do not think it will convene 
any meeting as Nhema and Mzembi are clashing. There are bigwigs on Nhema’s 
side who have either benefited or are planning to do so and Mzembi is 
fighting a lone war, even though he has some support in the party,” said a 

The Tourism Minister questioned the authenticity of the list of 
beneficiaries of conservancies that have been allocated so far, saying it 
was being used to gain “cheap political mileage” by party heavyweights.

He speculated that the Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister, Titus 
Maluleke, could have been the one who compiled the list.

“The list must have been compiled by the Provincial Governor whose territory 
these conservancies fall under so that the Minister of Environment could use 
it to allocate leases and licenses. It was never approved by Cabinet,” he 

Leaked docs

He denied having a conservancy as listed on a leaked updated document The 
Zimbabwean published recently. “I never received a 25-year lease or a 
hunting license as shown on the list.

In fact there are only 37 people who actually got them,” he said.

Mzembi claimed some party members were using the list to settle disputes and 
mislead people.

“Nhema is the committee’s chairman and we are waiting for him to summon us.

For further information please get hold of him,” he said.

Nhema’s mobile was answered by a woman who claimed it was not his number. 


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