via email from ZCTF
There has been a guarded welcome of a decision by the ZANU PF politburo to
rescind all offer letters, granted to top party and army officials, for
land in the Save Valley Conservancy.
A politburo meeting chaired by Robert Mugabe on Monday also resolved to
remove all beneficiaries of the wildlife-based land grab from properties
that were meant to be protected under Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreements (BIPPAs). This reportedly includes the Sango, Sabi,
Chishakwe, Masapasi, Makore, Gunundwe and Chamurwe ranches.
Other conservancy land gazetted by the state for takeover will now come
under the ownership of the National Parks authority.
During the Monday meeting Mugabe criticised what he called “double
dipping” by his officials, who already benefitted during ZANU PF’s
commercial farm grab campaign. Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo reportedly
confirmed that this was the politburo position too.
“The issue was if you did not yet have a farm, then government will give
you one elsewhere and not in Save Valley. Most of them are multiple land
owners which is what the politburo said should not happen. That was the
decision, and their removal must be expedited as per the politburo
(resolution),” Gumbo said.
National Parks in 2012 issued hunting permits to 25 so-called indigenous
`farmers’ who were given land in the Conservancy under the government’s
`Wildlife Best Land Reform Policy’. This was in spite of a damning
parliamentary report in 2012, which said that the forced seizure of Save
land by top political and military figures with “no interest (or)
experience in wildlife conservation” had resulted in massive destruction
The officials who benefitted included war vets leader Joseph Chinotimba,
Major General Gibson Mashingaidze, Major General Engelbert Rugeje,
Masvingo Governor Titus Maluleke, then ZANU PF Masvingo provincial chair
Lovemore Matuke, then Deputy Health Minister Douglas Mombeshora, ZANU PF’s
central committee member Enock Porusingazi, as well as ZANU PF MPs Alois
Baloyi, Abraham Sithole, Samson Mukanduri and Noel Mandebvu.
ZANU PF’s Gumbo said that the government has withdrawn all 25-year leases
offered to the top officials “with immediate effect.”
“The politburo made a decision to remove all those that had been allocated
leases in Save Valley. It does not matter whether you are a politburo
member or not, all beneficiaries were ordered out of that place,” Gumbo
We believe the decision is “overdue,” because local Zimbabweans have not
benefitted since top chefs took over the Save land.
The owners of the conservancies originally came up with an idea that the
rural folk would become shareholders, but the big boys didn’t like it and
they took over. Now that is being withdrawn and it’s about time. They need
to be held accountable for the greed and corruption going on.
The previously gazetted land, now set to be handed over to
National Parks, should instead be given back to the original land owners.
We don’t believe that Parks will be able to do a good job. They should
leave the land with the actual owners. They are the best conservationists;
they employ professional people to make things work. At the moment
National Parks can’t even pay their employees. So it’s doomed to fail.
He also added that the planned `indigenisation’ of conservancy land owned
by white Zimbabweans would have a negative impact on Save Valley. Former
Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said that only white
Zimbabweans will be required to comply with ZANU PF’s indigenisation laws
in the Conservancy. This is despite the fact that the indigenisation policy
was originally meant to only target foreign owned investments in Zimbabwe.
“Foreign-owned properties will not be affected as they are protected under
investment laws, but those [properties] of local whites will be,”
This doesn’t make any sense. They have to come up with a
definite ruling (on indigenisation) because we need the foreign