Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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ZanuPF linked with major poaching syndicate

ZANU PF linked to Zim poaching syndicate

By Alex Bell
04 May 2011

Robert Mugabe’s party has been linked to a complex, international syndicate 
that is specialising in the trafficking and poaching of Zimbabwe’s wildlife.

According to a report published on Tuesday by the Daily News newspaper, the 
ZANU PF officials are part of an “intricate web of international trafficking 
in wildlife that has raised the hackles of animal lovers and wildlife 

The party’s involvement has been revealed in the ongoing case against a 
group dubbed the “Musina Mafia,” which is believed to be Africa’s biggest 
rhino, elephant and lion poaching syndicate. Eleven members of the group, 
led by South African national Dawie Groenewald, were arrested last year and 
are facing charges of poaching, illegal gun possession and other crimes, in 
the border town Musina. Their case has been remanded until September.

According to the Daily News, Groenewald is the principal director of a 
hunting group called Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris, which was said to be 
facilitating the illicit sales of rare animals from Zimbabwe. This included 
the sale of 250 bateleur eagles to a sheikh in the United Arab Emirates 
(UAE) in 2003. That sale raised international concerns because it was 
allegedly handled by ZANU PF linked Ed Kadzombe, whose own safari hunting 
group E.K. Safaris, was a partner with Groenewald’s Out of Africa group.

Kadzombe also used to own the misleadingly named Zimbabwe Wildlife Advisory 
Council, a company known for its connections with Zimbabwe National Parks 
and Wildlife Authority officials. It was this company that organised the 
sale of about 160 sables from a private conservancy to South Africa, and at 
least another 40 to Saudi Arabia in 2003. The wheels of those sales were 
allegedly greased by another ZANU PF aligned official, Vitalis Chadenga, who 
was then the acting director of Parks and Wildlife. He is now the current 
director of the Authority.

Groenewald’s company was then supposedly banned from operating in Zimbabwe 
in 2003. An investigation has however revealed that the outfit continued its 
Zim operations well into 2006, through its Zim partners.

The Daily News report goes on to state that in 2003, “animal rights 
activists started expressing concern that the rhino and elephant poaching 
crisis was being fuelled by unscrupulous foreign safari operators in 
collusion with government ministers, wildlife management officers, elements 
of the security forces and ZANU PF henchman who had invaded the farms.”

The slaughter of four endangered black rhinos in 2003 was once again linked 
to Groenewald’s hunting group, with the help of his Zim partner, Kadzombe of 
E.K. Safaris, and a company owned by former Matabeleland North Governor and 
ZANU PF provincial Chairman Jacob Mudenda.

The Daily News report goes on to detail Groenewald’s illicit dealings in 
Zimbabwe, under the cover of international hunting trips, which has lured 
hundreds of foreign hunters.

Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Taskforce, told 
SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that he hopes the trial against Groenewald in 
South Africa will have some kind of impact on the ongoing poaching crisis in 
Zimbabwe. But he raised concern about the involvement of top level 
government ministers.

“We have to ask if the law will take part in holding the high up ministers 
to account. The poachers work hand in hand with top officials and the 
Groenewald syndicate is not the only one,” Rodrigues said.

The Taskforce official added that the impact on tourism in Zimbabwe is huge, 
because the number of animals in Zimbabwe has declined so steeply in recent 
years. And he warned that things are not going to improve.

“We are going to see things get worse in the coming months because it is 
peak poaching season. Unfortunately this little problem in Zimbabwe gets 
overlooked because there are much bigger issues happening in the world,” 
Rodrigues said.

He added: “But until we get Western involvement in this crisis then we face 
the real risk of losing all these animals to extinction.”


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