Saturday, 11 October 2008 16:31
Robert Mugabe, at the urging of his cronies in ZANU-PF and hardline War
Vets, has gone ahead and broke the GNU deal by forming a new cabinet
unilateraly. The MDC has denounced Mugabe's move as a "giant act of
Mugabe gave ZANU-PF 14 ministries, including the influential defence, home,
foreign affairs, justice, local government and media portfolios.
ZANU-PF has also retained control of the army, police and other state
The assignment of ministries was done in terms of Paragraph (a) of
Subsection (1) of Section 31 D of the Constitution which says that the:
(1) The President-
(a) shall appoint Ministers and may assign functions to such Ministers,
including the administration of any Act
of Parliament or of any Ministry or department; and
(b) may appoint Deputy Ministers of any Ministry or department or of such
other description as the President
may determine, and may authorize any Deputy Minister to exercise or perform
on behalf of a Minister any
of the functions entrusted to such Minister.
(2) Any person appointed under this section shall, before entering upon his
office, take and subscribe before the
President or some other person authorized by the President in that behalf
the oaths of loyalty and office in the forms
set out in Schedule 1.
(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and any Act of
Parliament, where any Minister has been
charged with responsibility for any Ministry or department he shall exercise
general direction and control over that
Ministry or department and, subject to such direction and control, any such
Ministry shall be under the supervision of
(4) During his tenure of office, no Minister or Deputy Minister shall
directly or indirectly hold any other public
office or any paid office in the employment of any person.
The shock announcement came just hours after negotiators for Mugabe, main
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party and the head of a splinter MDC group urged former South African
president Thabo Mbeki to once again resolve the latest deadlock.
The Mbeki-brokered power-sharing pact was signed on September 15. It came
after the ruling party lost control of parliament in March elections for the
first time and Mugabe's re-election in a controversial second round
boycotted by Tsvangirai.
Mbeki will head for Zimbabwe Monday on a new mediation bid, his spokesman
"He's continuing with the mediation process," Mukoni Ratshitanga said.
"We're going to Zimbabwe on Monday to discuss those very matters that are
holding up the operationalisation of the power-sharing deal."
The MDC said Saturday's cabinet line-up was the "product of unilateral,
contemptuous and outrageous machinations," stressing that only informal
talks had been held on Friday on the break-up of posts but no decision
"In fact, it is a giant act of madness which puts the whole deal into
jeopardy," it said," stressing that the ruling party on Friday "wanted to
take the ministries of finance, home affairs, local government and foreign
affairs from the MDC."
The ruling party "cannot nocturnally allocate ministries barely hours after
the three principals agreed to disagree by referring the matter to the
mediator after a logjam over all key ministries," an MDC statement said.
Tsvangirai's MDC has been given 13 portfolios, including constitutional and
parliamentary affairs, economic planning and investment promotion, labour
and social welfare, sport, arts and culture and science and technology
A splinter opposition grouping led by Arthur Mutambara will be in charge of
education, regional integration and international co-operation and industry
and commerce, the report added.
The latest impasse adds to Zimbabwe's woes which today is a far cry from its
position 20 years ago when it was hailed as a model economy and a regional
The economy is in tatters since 2000 when Mugabe seized white-owned farms
and handed them over to landless blacks, often with no farming skills. Its
inflation rate soared to 231 million percent in July, the world's highest.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa urged fresh regional mediation to end the
ruinous political crisis, which has added to the plight of citizens
grappling with acute shortages of food and basic goods and a freefalling
"There is a deadlock and it can only be broken through SADC (the Southern
African Development Community) and its appointed mediator, Mbeki," he said.
"If you look at the list it's as good as running the government by
themselves," Chamisa added.
But some urged the MDC to accept the spoils in the country's best interests.
"Zimbabweans are suffering and the MDC can use the ministries allocated to
them to do what they can to improve the lot of Zimbabweans and rally the
people to their cause," said Takavafira Zhou, a political scientist.
"Pulling out would be futile. If they pull out they would have to employ
another strategy but what strategy can they use when ZANU-PF is in control
of the army and the police?"
The following ministerial
allocations were discussed but not concluded in the deliberations of the three
principals when they met on Friday, except that Zanu PF wanted to take the
ministries of Finance, Home Affairs, Local Government and Foreign Affairs from
the MDC. This list, contrary to the one published by The Herald, captures
the general understanding during the deliberations. MDC-T ZANU-PF MDC-M 1. Finance 2. Economic planning 3. Home Affairs 4. Foreign Affairs 5. Justice and Legal Affairs 6. Local Government 7. Health and Child Welfare 8. Education 9. Energy and power
Development 10. Media & Information
Publicity 11. Labour and Social Welfare 12. Women, Gender and Community
Development 13. Environment, Natural Resources and
Tourism 1. Defence 2. Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement
3. Mines and Mineral
Development 4. Parliamentary and Constitutional
Affairs 5. Youth Development and
Indigenization 6. Higher and Tertiary
Education 7. Public Service 8. National Housing and Social
Amenities 9. Public Works 10. Water Resources, Development and
Management 11. Information and Communication
Technology 12. State Enterprises and
Parastatals 13. Transport 14. Small and Medium
Enterprises 15. Prisons and Correctional
Services 1. Science and Technology
development 2. Regional Integration and International
Cooperation 3. Industry and Commerce
ministries, which is a betrayal of the wishes, expectations and
aspirations of the majority of Zimbabweans.
The Herald-published list of ministries is a product of unilateral,
contemptuous and outrageous machinations by Zanu PF. In fact, it is a
giant act of madness which puts the whole deal into jeopardy. Zanu PF
cannot nocturnally allocate ministries barely hours after the three
principals agreed to disagree by referring the matter to the mediator
after a logjam over all key ministries.
Zanu PF's ploy is to pre-empt the visit of the mediator and any
attempt by SADC to try and help Zimbabweans locate exit points to the
For the past week, Zanu PF has been performing its usual propaganda
rituals to lull the nation into believing that there was progress. The
idea was to manage and prepare the nation for this barbaric ambush.
The MDC did not append its signature to a Zanu PF power-grabbing deal
but to a power sharing deal. The people of Zimbabwe are aware that we
entered into dialogue with a sincere desire to resolve the national
crisis. This brazen power-grab as reflected in the gazetted ministries
cannot in any way be a result of a genuine power-sharing agreement.
Zanu PF has waylaid and mugged the people's desire to see a new
government put in place which would solve the endemic problems of
starvation, clean water, housing, better health care and education.
The elite in Zanu PF is not interested in addressing the current
challenges in the country. Instead, they are obsessed with power
retention at all costs.
We reject the attempt by Zanu PF to get the MDC into office but
without power. We derive our legitimacy and mandate from the people of
Zimbabwe, not Zanu PF who were rejected by the very same people on 29
March. It is ridiculous that after having lost the election, Zanu PF,
the loser, proceeds to allocate peripheral ministries to the MDC, the
winner. This act of perfidy is a negation of the spirit of
rapproachment and good will that should characterize any meaningful
The MDC believes that Mr Mugabe, who lost the election on 29 March,
cannot arrogate upon himself the right to unilaterally allocate
ministries outside the framework of the dialogue process.
We condemn Zanu PF's undermining of efforts by SADC and the African
Union in trying to resolve the challenges confronting our country.
All good Zimbabweans have a duty to stand up and be counted in
defending that which is good about our country and stop the Zanu PF
In light of the latest developments, the MDC calls on the mediator,
SADC, the AU and the international community at large to help support
and protect Zimbabweans against the run-away and galloping power
appetite of the minority Zanu PF leadership.
Hon Nelson Chamisa, MP
Secretary for Information and Publicity
The following ministerial allocations were discussed but not concluded in the deliberations of the three principals when they met on Friday, except that Zanu PF wanted to take the ministries of Finance, Home Affairs, Local Government and Foreign Affairs from the MDC. This list, contrary to the one published by The Herald, captures the general understanding during the deliberations.
2. Economic planning
3. Home Affairs
4. Foreign Affairs
5. Justice and Legal Affairs
6. Local Government
7. Health and Child Welfare
9. Energy and power Development
10. Media & Information Publicity
11. Labour and Social Welfare
12. Women, Gender and Community Development
13. Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism
2. Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement
3. Mines and Mineral Development
4. Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs
5. Youth Development and Indigenization
6. Higher and Tertiary Education
7. Public Service
8. National Housing and Social Amenities
9. Public Works
10. Water Resources, Development and Management
11. Information and Communication Technology
12. State Enterprises and Parastatals
14. Small and Medium Enterprises
15. Prisons and Correctional Services
1. Science and Technology development
2. Regional Integration and International Cooperation
3. Industry and Commerce
4 hours ago
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Former South African president Thabo Mbeki is to go to
Zimbabwe Monday on a new mediation bid, a spokesman said Saturday, as a
power-sharing deal he brokered ran into new trouble.
"He's continuing with the mediation process," Mbeki spokesman Mukoni
Ratshitanga said after reports that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe had
unilaterally allocated control of the main ministries to his ZANU-PF party.
A list published in the state-owned daily The Herald gave Mugabe's party 14
ministries including the key portfolios of defence, home, foreign affairs
The report prompted outrage from the rival Movement for Democratic Change,
whose leader Morgan Tsvangirai had called for mediators to resolve a
deadlock in talks on sharing out government posts.
"We're going to Zimbabwe on Monday to discuss those very matters that are
holding up the operationalisation of the power-sharing deal", Ratshitanga
Mugabe had agreed on Friday to allow in outside mediation in a bid to break
the four-week deadlock over cabinet posts in a new unity government of the
former ruling ZANU-PF with Tsvangirai's MDC and a splinter faction headed by
An MDC spokesman said that the September 15 deal brokered by Mbeki as a
mediator for the regional Southern African Development Community was in
"jeopardy" following Mugabe's "contemptuous" decision.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Tsvangirai would not sign up to the
government list as published in the state media.
The sides have met several times with the MDC arguing that it should take
the lion's share of power as it won control of parliament and most votes in
a first round of presidential elections in March.
Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round after mounting violence against
his supporters, leaving Mugabe to retain the presidency.
Mbeki, who was toppled as South African president last month, has been
widely accused in the past of being too soft on Mugabe, 84, who has led the
former British colony uninterrupted since independence in 1980.
However the MDC, which at one stage called for Mbeki to be replaced as
mediator, now sees him as key to persuading Mugabe and his cohorts to
release their grip on power.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's Prime Minister-designate Morgan Tsvangirai
will address a rally in Harare on Sunday which will be the first real test
of the effectiveness of a power-sharing agreement signed with President
Robert Mugabe in September.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in a statement
released on Friday night that the opposition leader would "unpack the
character and substance of the political deal" at the rally at Zimbabwe
Grounds in the Harare low-income suburb of Highfield.
The opposition leader has until now been barred from holding rallies, with
the police citing security fears.
His last rally in Harare on June 22 was disrupted by ruling party militias
who chased his supporters from the Harare Showgrounds, prompting Tsvangirai
to withdraw from the June 27 presidential election run-off against President
Zimbabwe Grounds evokes memories of a March 11, 2007 incident when riot
police stopped a prayer meeting organized by the civil society at the same
venue and brutally assaulted and tortured senior opposition officials,
The incident proved to be the turning point in an eight-year hostile
relationship between Mugabe and Tsvangirai as it led southern African
leaders to dispatch former South African president Thabo Mbeki to mediate in
the political crisis.
Mbeki's mediation gave birth to last month's power-sharing deal between the
two Zimbabwean political foes under which Tsvangirai becomes prime
Since the deal, a three-week impasse over the allocation of key ministries
has stalled the announcement of a unity government.
HARARE, Oct 11 (AFP)
Zimbabwe is to unveil a new 50,000-dollar banknote next week, the central
bank said Saturday, as the country grapples with the world's highest
Announcing the introduction of the new banknote hardly a fortnight after a
20,000-dollar banknote, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said in a statement the
move was "for your convenience with effect from October 13, 2008."
The banknote is worth five US dollars on the parallel market and 294 dollars
at the official rate, and is enough for three loaves of bread.
Zimbabwe's inflation rate soared to 231 million percent in July, the world's
Once hailed as a model economy and a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe's
economy has collapsed over the past decade with high inflation and shortages
of basic foodstuffs like sugar and cooking oil.
The majority of the population lives below the poverty threshold.
The southern African nation is also suffering from foreign exchange and fuel
The government blames the country's economic meltdown on sanctions imposed
by Britain and other Western nations, while critics fault President Robert
Mugabe's chaotic land reform programme as one of the main causes.
To keep pace with the rising costs, shops sometimes change the prices of
goods more than twice a day while long meandering queues have become a
familiar sight at banks as depositors seek to withdraw cash which is rapidly
losing its value.
The currency, once on a par with the British pound, is in freefall and
unemployment is a staggering 80 percent.
The government has tried several measures -- including price controls and
striking off 10 zeros from the country's currency -- to try to rein in
Last month the central bank gave some shops licences to sell goods in
foreign currency in a bid to ease shortages which are fuelling the black
Saturday, 11 October 2008 07:06
JOHANNESBURG:DESPITE Zimbabwe's political parties remaining
deadlocked, prominent political analyst John Makumbe said it was a move in
the right direction towards resolving Zimbabwe's decade-long political and
Makumbe said this in Johannesburg on Friday where he took part in a
workshop titled "The Impact of Democracy in Zimbabwe and Malawi" where the
democratic principles of the two southern African nations came under immense
"The power sharing agreement that was signed recently by ZANU (PF) and
the two MDC parties and brokered by Thabo Mbeki may not be perfect but it is
a step in the right direction. We should put into consideration that there
has been so much pain among Zimbabweans over the years, therefore a
compromise had to be reached," said Makumbe, a professor at the University
Speakers at the conference concurred that the parties should find
common ground so as to pave way for the reconstruction of the crisis-torn
southern African country.
Zimbabwe's warring parties comprising Zanu PF and the two Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) formations recently signed a power-sharing deal that
former South African President, Thabo Mbeki brokered.
However, this has taken a knock as the MDC and ZANU (PF) leaders on
Friday have failed to reach an agreement over the allocation of some key
In the meantime, the country's economic problems continue. Inflation
has reached 213million percent while a shortage of basic commodities,
rampant poverty and high levels of poverty have exacerbated the situation
By Tendai Maphosa
09 October 2008
Education used to be a top priority for Zimbabwe's government. But as Tendai
Maphosa reports from Harare, the country's economic and political crisis is
taking a heavy toll on the education system.
Under normal circumstances, junior school children should have started
writing their final year examinations this week. But this year is different,
the exams will take place at the end of the month.
The Herald daily newspaper, a government mouthpiece, blames the delay on the
Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council - also known as ZIMSEC, the body tasked
with the organization of examinations. The newspaper describes it as the
latest in a series of gaffes by the council.
Ladistous Zunde of the Progressive Teacher's Union of Zimbabwe sees it as
just another symptom of a dysfunctional education system. He says the blame
lies squarely on the shoulders of the government.
"ZIMSEC is not operating from a vacuum, they cannot operate without funding,
they cannot operate without technical assistance and ever since they have
been in existence, they have not been able to get enough resources."
Zunde adds that while government seems not to have problems looking after
its army and the police, the same cannot be said for teachers. The poor pay
they get has led to many strikes.
During the violent election campaign earlier this year, he says, teachers
were targeted for allegedly supporting the opposition. As a result of that
and the poor remuneration, many teachers have left the country, sought
alternative employment or simply stayed at home because they cannot afford
the commute to work.
Zunde tells VOA even those teachers still working are not sure how much they
"If you look at last month-end - two weeks ago - a primary school was given
12,000, and two days ago was given another 60- to- 90,000 dollars, which
really is shameful," he said.
A loaf of bread costs at least 10,000 Zimbabwean dollars. The latest
official inflation figure is 231 million percent.
VOA spoke to UNICEF Communication Officer Tsitsi Singizi who says her group
has surveyed the Zimbabwe education system and the results are disturbing.
"Trends are indicating that only 40 percent of the teachers are attending
lessons, a third of the pupils are not going to school for various reasons -
one of them being that teachers are not there - and the exam system is total
disarray," she said. "It seems as if the sector is tottering on the brink of
collapse and as UNICEF we are really worried."
But Singizi says despite the harsh economic climate and the resultant
increase in the dropout rate, Zimbabwean parents will do anything to keep
their children in school. She says if the economic decline is arrested, the
infrastructure rehabilitated and teachers get fair remuneration the sector
could bounce back.
When he came to power in 1980, president Robert Mugabe embarked on a massive
exercise to educate Zimbabweans. Schools were built all over the country and
teachers were trained to man them. This resulted in Zimbabwe having the
highest adult literacy rate in Africa, according to U.N. figures. But that
achievement is now at risk.
By Patience Rusere
09 October 2008
Some observers of the stop-start power-sharing process in Zimbabwe, which
Movement for Democratic Change founder and prime minister-in-waiting Morgan
Tsvangirai declared to be on hold Thursday pending intervention of a
mediator, should be considered as no more than a bridge to another and more
decisive round of national elections.
Twenty-four days after the long-ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert
Mugabe and both formations of the MDC subscribed to a power-sharing accord
on Sept. 15, the cabinet for the envisioned national unity government has
yet to be named - not to mention the passage through parliament of the
necessary enabling constitutional amendment.
No surprise, then, that some in Zimbabwe and abroad are beginning to wonder
if power-sharing will take hold in Harare or if the country will continue
its downward slide beset by hyperinflation last officially measured at 231
million percent and hunger widespread.
For an assessment of the power-sharing process, reporter Patience Rusere of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to National Constitutional Assembly
Chairman Lovemore Madhuku and Africa Policy Institute President Peter
Kagwanja in Pretoria, South Africa.
Madhuku said the deadlock was an early warning sign that power-sharing is
doomed to fail. The two agreed that only another round of elections can
resolve the national crisis.
From Everton, South Africa, Studio 7 listener Norman Mashumi said ZANU-PF
and the MDC must put their differences aside to ensure power-sharing does
not fail. From Tafara, Harare, Tee Vee said he is skeptical MDC-ZANU-PF
power-sharing can work, noting that conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans are
fast deteriorating while the politicians bicker.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
09 October 2008
Chronic and severe cash shortages in Zimbabwe have resulted in an industrial
dispute at the Renco Gold Mine in the country's Masvingo province, where
sources said 20 workers have been dismissed for striking this week over late
payment of their wages.
About 500 workers went on strike on Monday and Tuesday after the mine's
management did not pay September salaries on time due to the shortage of
bank notes which has plagued consumers and businesses across the country for
months, and worsened recently.
Sources among the workers said some of those who struck were served with
suspension letters on Wednesday and told not to leave their residences in
the mine compound until their cases were been heard. The labor sources said
workers were brought before a disciplinary committee which reprimanded some
and dismissed about 20 others.
Mine sources said management has also ceased to provide staple maize meal to
Renco Mine is owned by Rio Tinto Zimbabwe, whose manager, Aaron Mudhuwiwa
declined to comment without written questions, which VOA declines to
A dismissed worker who requested anonymity told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri
that workers brought up before the disciplinary committee were denied
representation by their union.
By Carole Gombakomba
09 October 2008
Inflation soared to an annual rate of 231 million percent in July, the State
run-Herald newspaper on Thursday quoted the country's Central Statistical
Office as saying, a huge leap from the official June inflation rate which
was given as 11.2 million percent.
But independent economists in Zimbabwe and abroad say the figures do not
reflect an economic reality in which the cost of living is soaring
U.S economist Steven Hanke, an expert on hyperinflation who has consulted to
countries on stabilizing prices, recently estimated that inflation hit 531
billion percent in September, while Zimbabwean economist John Robertson
reckoned it ran at some 26 billion percent.
Robertson told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that such mind-boggling estimates and projections accurately reflect what
could come to pass if there is no government in place soon to launch an
economic stabilization program.
Saturday 11th October 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
The October clouds are gathering over Zimbabwe and darkening skies tease us
with promises of rain every afternoon. Its a brutally hard time of year.
Searing heat, scorched ground and a desperate shortage of water makes it
almost impossible to keep anything going. And yet, as the clouds get darker,
heavier and lower the time of renewal is almost upon us and the signs of the
new season are all around us.
Bright yellow weaver birds with deep black face masks are busy weaving
strips of grass into intricate nests which they hang upside down from and
try and attract mates. A strand out of place, one disdainful glance or
dismissive peck at the nest from a female and the male pulls the whole thing
apart and starts all over again. The Paradise flycatchers are back too,
flitting around showing off their magnificent, foot long, burnt orange tails
and building shallow little cups for nests with grass, roots and bits of
It seems absurd to be writing about the weather and birds when we've got no
food, fuel or government and inflation's hit 231 MILLION percent, but its
these routines of nature that help take our minds off the insanity of life
in Zimbabwe. It's the time of year when there should be a frenzy of activity
in preparation for the rains and food growing. Seed and fertilizer should be
stacked up in sheds waiting to go out to the lands. Tractors should be
ploughing and the lands readied but without the inputs it's not happening.
In my home town a large, shiny, 4 wheel drive, red tractor, still with
plastic on its fenders, roars around on the main tar roads carrying
passengers on errands
I had three questions in mind when I phoned around the main agricultural
suppliers in my farming home town this week: Have you got seed maize; how
much is it; can I pay in Zimbabwe dollars? I knew I was being optimistic
because just a week ago it was reported that there was only enough seed in
the country to plant 360 thousand hectares of land. Zimbabwe apparently has
to plant at least one million hectares in order to feed itself.
My phone calls were a waste of time. There is no seed maize to buy, not in
Zim Dollars or American dollars and we are just a couple of weeks away from
the main planting season. I asked one main farming supplier when they were
expecting a delivery of seed maize and he laughed and said he didn't think
any of their seed orders were going to come at all.
This is such a critical time in Zimbabwe when almost half the population
needs food aid and yet, even in their hunger, people are still desperate to
try and help themselves. "We need seed!" is the cry everywhere you go. Our
old and our new leaders are still too busy arguing about power to hear our
calls. Another month has been wasted when these Big Men could, should have
stood together; seed and fertilizer could have been bought, fields ploughed
and every able bodied man and woman readied to bring life and food security
back to Zimbabwe. Many people are saying that neither Zanu PF nor the MDC
deserve to be in power if they cannot even help us to help ourselves at this
most desperate time.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy
Elephant Conservation In Zimbabwe
Elephant conservation remains one of Zimbabwe’s main success stories. Of late due to reason beyond our comprehension this conservation initiative is under spotlight with varied opinions being expressed. This is manifesting itself in form of various misconceptions about the state of elephant conservation in Zimbabwe, including accusations of staff involvement in poaching.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority therefore wishes to set the record straight by informing our valued stakeholders of the elephant management programmes on the ground to hopefully stop all the misinformation that is doing the rounds.
Elephant Population Status
The current national population is about 100,000 with an average growth rate of 5% and of this Hwange National Park and its environs alone hold about 50,000 while Mid-Zambezi Valley, Sebungwe and the South East Lowveld hold 30,000, 15,000 and 5,000 respectively. These figures are based on aerial surveys undertaken jointly by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Utilization: non consumptive and consumptive
There are two programmes for the sustainable utilization of elephants in the country : (i) non-consumptive (photographic, elephant rides) and (ii) consumptive (trophy hunting and management off-take). Consumptive utilization is all based on an approved quota with the exception of problem animal control which is responsive to rogue animals whose numbers annually cannot be predicted.
There is also a deliberate policy to carry out these programmes i.e. consumptive and non consumptive, in isolation of each other recognizing the different clientele ethics involved.
Trophy hunting which annually utilises 500 animals that are declared to CITES each year as 1000 tusks to allow for exportation of trophies takes place in designated places as follows:
· State hunting safari areas 145 animals
· Private land mainly conservancies 115 animals
· CAMPFIRE in communal areas 210 animals and
· Forestry areas 30 animals
No trophy hunting takes place in National Parks which include Hwange, Gonarezhou, Chizarira, Mana Pools, Matusadona, Kazuma Pan, Zambezi where elephants are found.
The management off take, unlike trophy hunting, takes place in any protected area where elephants occur including the national parks stated above and involves both trophy and non trophy animals but the trophies are not for export in any way. The ivory from such an initiative ends up in central ivory stores at the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Head Quarters properly recorded with a distinct serial number, area of origin, cause and date of mortality and size (length and weight). In order not to change the population structure (age and sex) management off takes are not selective such that trophy animals are also taken but as stated above their ivory is not for export in its raw form. It is sold on the domestic market through regular auctions to registered ivory manufacturers in line with 1997 CITES COP 10 Resolution which allowed Zimbabwe to engage in highly controlled domestic ivory trade.
Management off takes are for ecological reasons to manage surplus animals since elephants at very high densities as is our situation have a high propensity to destroy the very habitat that is the basis for their survival. As they destroy the habitat they also pose serious loss of other biodiversity.
At the moment in Zimbabwe the management off take is utilised for training, staff rations, support for state and other functions, sale to crocodile farmers and where possible live sales for restocking. Meat is also sold cheaply or given freely to communities to supplement their protein requirements.
The management off take involves an approved quota country wide of 1000 animals representing approximately 1% of the population as compared to the 5% annual growth rate stated above. This implies that this off take has no effect whatsoever on the elephant population. Moreover over the years we have never harvested even half of the approved quota.
In April 2007 prior to CITES COP 14 in The Hague SADC Ministers responsible for Wildlife Management approved the Southern Africa Elephant Management Strategy which recognises culling as one of the main tools for effective population control. However, in the event that the Authority needs to undertake culling, all the political, ecological and other considerations including thorough stakeholder consultations would have been met.
At the moment and in preparation for a possible requirement to control elephant population through culling the Authority has embarked on a training exercise for its staff thorough engaging some experienced professional hunters using part of this management quota. This training involves hunting, recovery and processing of elephant products and gathering of scientific data.
However it appears that this training process has not gone down very well with some of our stakeholders resulting in the perception that trophy hunting for commercial purposes is taking place in National Parks. Furthermore accusations of rampart poaching or complicity in poaching by staff have also arisen resulting in staff frustration and low morale.
In response the Authority has deemed it fit to suspend this programme with immediate effect to allow for reviewing of lessons leant in line with adaptive management principles which guide the Authority.
It is important to state that this programme has to go on as rations for and training of staff has to be undertaken if we are to meet our conservation goals. The Authority has also to supply meat to other stakeholders as stated above.
We invite all stakeholders with information on poaching by staff or complicity in poaching to provide such information to the office of the Director General to facilitate any investigations where necessary.
It is our sincere hope that this statement will enlighten our valued stakeholders and help correct the perceptions about this programme. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information regarding the programme.
Dr. M.Z. Mtsambiwa
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
Box CY 140, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 4 705 344, +263 11 870 160, + 263 912 217 405.
Fax: +263 4 790 567