Some senior Zanu-PF and Government officials who received hunting licences and quotas for the Save Valley Conservancy have continued with the activities in defiance of the Politburo’s decision to stop them.
Observers believe the officials are taking advantage of a vacuum created after the Politburo’s resolution to form a committee to look at disturbances at the conservancy.
The Politburo wants the conservancy to be turned into a national park. It, however, appointed a committee of Ministers Ignatius Chombo (Local Government, Rural and Urban Development), Herbert Murerwa (Lands, Land Reforms and Resettlement), Francis Nhema (Environment and Natural Resources Management) and Walter Mzembi (Tourism and Hospitality Industry) to look into issues affecting operations at the conservancy.
The committee would also make recommendations to Politburo for onward transmission to Cabinet. Minister Nhema on Friday said he was not aware of the latest developments.
“I am yet to get a briefing of the latest developments since I was out of the country,” he said.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said the committee had not yet met.
“Everything is in the pipeline but the committee has not met. We still wait for their recommendations to the party leadership,” he said.
Cde Gumbo said while the Politburo could have made the resolutions, it expected some resistance from the people allocated the hunting permits and quotas.
“We have taken a decision on the conservancy but the committee is responsible for what should be done at the end of the day. We expect that there would be resistance but we have to find a solution to the problems,” he said.
However, observers said hunting continues unabated at the conservancy as there was no Government position on the saga.
“Zanu-PF is an interested party that is trying to control members who are playing truant but since the licences were given through Government their decision would be a recommendation to Cabinet.
“That has, however, created a vacuum from the appointment of the committee, its sitting and agreement, recommendations to Cabinet and finally the latter’s final determination,” the observer said.
Meanwhile, the observer said, hunting would continue.
“There are unconfirmed reports that one beneficiary promised to slaughter two buffaloes for some commemorations while a buffalo was auctioned for R2,6 million in South Africa.
“It shows the lack of appreciation on conservancies has affected the operations at the conservancy.”
The confusion, the observer noted, had exposed the sanctuary to poachers.
Police acting national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba acknowledged reports of poaching in the conservancy.
“We have received reports of poaching at the conservancy and we have since deployed the Support Unit to complement efforts by rangers from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority,” she said.
Asst Comm Charamba could not confirm reports of gunfire between the police and suspected rhino poachers in the past three weeks.
Meanwhile, farmers continue battling with their new partners over hunting quotas. The new partners have continued inviting farmers despite the raging dispute.
According to correspondence between a farmer and a partner (names withheld), the latter advised that he was bringing hunters.
“Please be advised that hunts are starting this Sunday till early December. The hunters may not be staying at the camp because you have not responded to our proposal.
“May I also advise that if you disrupt these hunts, new operators may not appreciate your partnership,” the partner says in an email to a farmer.
The farmer cites the Politburo resolution for stopping the hunting.
“I am sure you will understand that under these circumstances we cannot (sic) see it fit to allow any outsiders to hunt . . .
“If you have questions, I am advised that our chairman, Mr Basil Nyabadza, is at your disposal.”
A defiant partner, however, advises that the hunters would carry on with their activities.