Zimbabwe indigenous farmers pushing to join a private wildlife conservancy owned by white farmers

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The government of Zimbabwe set to decide on whether to allow indigenous black farmers’ participation in the lucrative Save Valley Conservancy, a rich private sanctuary that is predominantly owned by white farmers.

A wildlife based land reform policy give indigenous black farmers the right to be directly involved in the wildlife sector.

“We cannot have an area that is said to be a preserve of white people only. Black people should also benefit alongside white people because this country is ours,” said Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa, reports Xinhua

The Vice President further is looking for permission for President Robert Mugabe to visit the 3,400 kilometers conservancy to assess the situation on the ground and bring closure to the problems in the area.

The conservancy has been marred by controversy; in 2012 top ruling party officials invaded the conservancy and allegedly started unsuitable wildlife hunting before the government removed them.

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Dehorning a Savé Valley Conservancy Rhino – November 2010

 

The government has previously announced plans to indigenize and establish a national park in the conservancy.

Vice chairperson of the conservancy, Wilfried Pabst, has been quoted in the local media as saying that the indigenization would not affect foreign-owned properties in the conservancy, nor would it be a “freebie” where government or locals just grab properties for free according to Xinhua

He claimed that 35 percent of the conservancy was foreign-owned and that this would not be affected by indigenization while another 34 percent will not be affected because it was already in indigenous hands.

Save Valley Conservancy was established in 1990s as part of a critically important wildlife conservation eco-region in Zimbabwe. It is part of protected wildlife areas in Mozambique, South Africa and other wildlife areas in Zimbabwe’s Lowveld, which form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

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