Sunday, 3 May 2009

Plundering or harvesting the chiefdoms of Zambia? (Guest Blog)

Today, 3 May 2009, The Post carries a message from the ZAWA D-G that the ZAMBIA Wildlife Authority’s hunters will next month start killing game animals on that part of customary land designated Game Management Area, to supply butcheries. This decision follows hard on the speech to Parliament on 17 March 2009 by the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources that ‘ZAWA will this year start implementing a number of additional programmes aimed at increasing its revenue base. These programmes include a live sale auctioning of game; participation in the capture of animals for local and international game ranching; venison business by curling of abundant species to supply game meat in butcheries so that members of the public can have access to game meat ….’

ZAWA, a parastatal responsible for our wildlife and national parks, is now clearly in the game business. But is this not in conflict with its mandate under the Wildlife Act of 1998 to enhance ‘the economic and social well-being of local communities in GMAs’ and ‘in partnership with local communities, to share the responsibilities of management in GMAs.’ For the wholesale revenue from this cropping programme will accrue to ZAWA alone. If they were to be concerned about the customary landowners they could just issue harvesting quotas to the villagers and their Community Resource Boards as is allowed under Part 3: (7) 2b of the Wildlife Act of 1998. The issue of whether GMAs - most of them sorely depleted by the illegal bushmeat trade – can stand additional offtakes, is debatable. And the cropping of animals in GMAs will negatively impact on the already beleaguered safari hunting business, let alone on the villagers who live off the land.

The Minister needs to be made aware by her newly appointed ZAWA Board that Zambia is a signatory to the CITES Convention, which at its 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Decision 11.166), established the CITES Bushmeat Working Group which recognizes that ‘illicit trade in bushmeat increases poverty and the food deficit among rural communities which use bushmeat as their main source of animal protein.’; and that ‘The Conference of the Parties to the Convention advised all relevant Parties, amongst a list of important requirements to clarify or establish property rights regarding CITES-listed species harvested, traded and consumed as bushmeat and to involve local communities in the monitoring of harvest, trade and consumption; and identify alternative sources of protein and take other measures to reduce the demand for bushmeat ... '

Of course many of the animals proposed to be harvested will not be CITES – listed, though 20 elephant a year have been issued for hunting by ZAWA for a number of years, despite the protestations of civil society. But the impact on rural areas of unsupervised hunters with a license to kill at will and with a legal butchery outlet where ‘legal’ and illegal meat can be laundered is a sad step backwards both for wildlife conservation and for the customary commons.

Chiefs need to be made aware that a community Society registered with the Registrar of Societies, a wholly community owned institution, may enter into co-management agreements with Government over GMAs, wildlife, fisheries, water and forestry, in conformity with the prescriptions of the Fisheries Act Chapter 200 of the Laws of Zambia of 1974 and the Fisheries (Amended) Act of 2007, The Forestry Act No. 39 of 1973, Forestry Policy of 1998, the Forestry Act No. 7 of 1999, the Local Forests (Control and Management) Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 47 of 2006, the Lands Act Chapter 184 of the Laws of Zambia of 1995, the Water Act Chapter 198 of the Laws of Zambia of 1948 and the Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998.


Chosanganga
(Guest Blogger), Zambia

Disclaimer : The views expressed above reflects the author's personal opinions. They do not represent the views or policies of any organisation with which the author may be affiliated.

2 comments:

MrK said...

ZAWA, a parastatal responsible for our wildlife and national parks, is now clearly in the game business.Just a note, but the Zambia Wildlife Agency is a state agency, not a parastatal company. ZCCM was a parastatal, as is SAUDI-ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia. The US FDA is a state agency.

There has been a corporate generated movement to disparage anything done by the government, but there are many successful parastatals, and Zambia's way forward is to refine it's parastatal legislation and create a framework that protects the parastatals from political influence. Parastatals can be very effective and profitable, as long as appointments are made on the basis of merit. Most Chinese and Taiwanese companies are parastatals.

Chosanganga said...

ZAWA is of course a statutory body, having been enacted by statute, confirmed by the Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998 PART II: 4. (1) ‘There is hereby established the Zambia Wildlife Authority which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, capable of suing and being sued in its corporate name, and with powers, subject to the other provisions of this Act, to do all such acts and things as a body corporate may by law do or perform and as are necessary for, or incidental to, the carrying out of its functions under this Act.’ And as an organization having some political authority and serving the state indirectly, it may – particularly in Africa - be said to be a parastatal. This is confirmed by the A-G report on ZAWA – included under its report on parastatal reports 2005 - and of the ‘Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the report of the Auditor-General for 2005 on the accounts of parastatal bodies for the first session of the Tenth National Assembly appointed by the resolution of the House on 10th November 2006’ (http://zambian-economist.blogspot.com/2008/04/committe-report-worth-reading.html.)

I am afraid that the A-G reports speak for themselves, be they skewering Ministries, Departments or parastatals. And the way the body politic is here constructed, parastatals will never be free of the direct control of the Minister, the Permanent Secretary – as originally the Mandarin who ran things – long having joined that list on which sits the black rhino. Ask the D-G of ZAWA. The demise of the National Parks and Wildlife Service at the behest of the EU and the Washington Consensus has now lead to the corporatization of nature and the continuing disenfranchisement of the customary communities. Have a close look at South Africa and weep.