State media blames Hwange poaching crisis on targeted sanctions

via State media blames Hwange poaching crisis on targeted sanctions | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The state media campaign to make targeted western sanctions the scapegoat for Zimbabwe’s problems reached new levels on Tuesday, with the Herald newspaper blaming the measures for the poaching crisis at the Hwange National Park.

At least 81 elephants and an untold number of other animals in Hwange have died after members of a suspected poaching syndicate laced salt licks with cyanide and placed the salt at water sources used by the elephants. Nine people have been arrested.

The ZANU PF mouthpiece newspaper reported Tuesday that the mass elephant deaths “have been attributed to the West’s illegal economic sanctions that affected Zimbabwe’s once-vibrant wildlife management system.”

The newspaper, which has been relentless in its publication of anti-sanctions rhetoric, said that it conducted a week-long investigation, which revealed “that failure by parks rangers to thwart increasing poaching was a manifestation of the fiscal constraints that left the authority severely incapacitated.”

The paper makes no mention of the reasons why the targeted, restrictive measures were imposed originally, which are said to be the real cause of the funding issues at the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

Johnny Rodrigues, the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) told SW Radio Africa that it is tourism that holds the key to problems facing the cash-strapped Authority. He emphasised that the political situation in Zimbabwe has directly affected the amount of tourism in the country.

“We’re not getting the tourism and it’s a feeble excuse to turn around and say it is the sanctions to blame. It has nothing to do with tourism,” Rodrigues said.

A scrutiny meanwhile of the targeted sanctions lists from the US, Canada, the European Union (EU) and Australia all reveal that the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority is not listed as an entity facing financial restrictions.

According to European and American officials who have spoken to SW Radio Africa in recent weeks, the targeted measures were a direct result of human rights atrocities and incidents of vote rigging, the same issues that have driven tourists away from Zimbabwe for more than a decade.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton told SW Radio Africa that his country’s measures were imposed as a reaction to these issues.

“The measures were originally imposed against people we felt were making decisions which were weakening Zimbabwe, decisions to abrogate the rule of law, decisions to not respect fully the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe, and decisions to weaken democratic institutions,” Wharton explained.

He added: “We believed targeted sanctions would bring pressure on these people …this is a small group of people that we think have the power to strengthen or weaken Zimbabwe. As long as we believe that they are making decisions to weaken Zimbabwe, we will have the measures in place.”

He said the measures are not to blame for Zimbabwe’s economic woes, saying the country’s “sovereign policy decisions” are the real reasons for the fiscal meltdown seen over the last 14 years.

“You can see that in 1997 the government made some sovereign decisions that had a very direct, clear affect on the economy. The infamous crash of Zimbabwe’s dollar in 1997 is a good example. Look also at the decision to send military forces to the DRC, which was costing Zimbabwe at least million dollars a day for couple years,” Wharton explained.

He continued: “We look at the way the fast track land reform process was conducted and the very clear affect that had on food security on this nation’s ability to export and attract investors.”

“When I add all of that up, it is pretty clear that the condition of Zimbabwe’s economy today is directly related to sovereign policy decisions and not because of targeted sanctions,” the Ambassador said.



  • comment-avatar
    maisokwazo 11 years ago

    THERE THEY GO AGAIN -POACHING- WESTERN SANCTIONS. Will there be anything that won’t be blamed on WESTERN SANCTIONS?

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      Western sanctions are making Mugabe’s bowl movements smell. Before the evil sanctions his sh*t did not smell. It’s all the West’s fault!

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    Zeezee 11 years ago

    If they didn’t have sanctions to blame there would be another excuse for their inefficiencies!

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    Let’s say its because of the sanctions. So what!!! What are you doing to make sure that the sanctions are no longer there. ABSOLuTELY NOTHING. You are just crying because its because of the sanctions since a decade ago and you are still singing the same tune. So what’s our future then with you morons.
    A logical solution is that the reason why the sanctions should be removed should be removed should be eliminated. That reason is Zanu PF because there is nowhere on earth that America will budge unless exactly that happens.
    Can’t see the point of suffering just because of a few people who has been in powere for the past 33 years regardless of whether the interest of the Americans are right or wrong because there is no country with our interests at heart, the others its just business, look at China and the deal they made with the Harare City Council. We deserve better!!!

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    Tabvuma 11 years ago

    The poachers are just as greedy as Mugabe and his people . What is the difference between poaching and land invasion? When the father has no moral values so are the children ,I am sure the poachers are also claiming it’s their heritage which they are entitled to.

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    Haruna 11 years ago


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    Madness is right. Believe me that the new owners of Zimbabwe, the Chinese, feature in this atrocity. They may have arrested nine Zimbabweans but their masters sent them out to commit this crime against our planet. F_ _king disgusting.

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    Dokotela 11 years ago

    This is embarrassing.

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    For a newspaper to print such bollocks it has to lose any form of credibility and it is clear that this is the kind of thing the two major fools, jonathan moyo and kasukwere would tell them to say. The facts are that it is controlled from the top and the dog eaters are taking the ivory home.

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    Twinn 11 years ago

    If you tell a lie long enough you end up believing in that lie. No reasoning power would be able to sway you from your mythical thinking. Same applies here, for every action taken there would be a reaction. If you act with impunity and disregard of the rule of law there will be a reaction. I have been having network problems this morning, no one to blame but SANCTIONS!!!