Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Chiefs demand reversal of seizure of Save Valley Conservancy
CHIREDZI chiefs have demanded that the government reverse the controversial indigenisation of Save Valley Conservancy which has sparked public clashes between cabinet ministers and drawn threats of aid cuts by the European Union. Environment minister Francis Nhema recently directed that owners of the prized 3,400 square-kilometre wildlife reserve in the south-east Lowveld region take on some 25 individuals, most of them senior Zanu PF officials, as partners in order to comply with the country’s indigenisation policies. The beneficiaries include higher education minister Stan Mudenge, Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke, senator Josiah Hungwe, MPs Ronald Ndava, Alois Baloyi, Abraham Sithole and former legislator Shuvai Mahofa. But the decision appeared to cause divisions in the cabinet with Tourism minister, Walter Mzembi, accusing his party and cabinet colleague of promoting greed by “empowering people who are already empowered severally in other sectors, such as farming, ranching, sugar cane farming, mining”. And on Monday, traditional leaders from the area, Chief Gudo, Chief Tshovani and Chief Sengwe, called on the government to reverse the decision, accusing Nhema of empowering a few individuals at the expense of their communities. “The adopted programme, which sadly prioritises a few individuals is against the concept of broad-based economic empowerment of communities,” the chiefs told reporters at a press conference in Harare. “It has allocated vast resources in Chiredzi to a few individuals. The option that the governor and his clique have adopted, under which they partner the sitting tenants, has caused a lot of destruction to the wildlife.