This blog post will dwell on the political situation surrounding Save` Valley Conservancy.
The Zimbabwean Government has pursued a broad policy of Indigenisation of the national economy. The mantra behind the Indigenisation policy is all foreign owned business should be 51% owned locally. The policy is aimed at economically empowering indigenous Zimbabweans (mainly black) that were disadvantaged prior to the country’s independence in April, 1980. Save` Valley Conservancy is run by private entities in partnership with foreign nationals. This puts it under the scope of indigenisation. It’s the politics surrounding the purported indigenisation of Save` which has caused an uproar locally & internationally.
The European Union has recently issued a warning over the controversy http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2012/08/31/eu-warns-zimbabwe/ . Politicians mostly from Zanu-PF (ruling party) were each granted 25 year leases & hunting permits. This raised eyebrows especially at a crucial period for Zimbabwe as it starts to prepare to jointly host next year’s United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly with Zambia. The manner in which the leases & hunting permits were given out were suspicious with many of the recipients having no experience whatsoever in conservancies or wildlife management. Poaching is rampant in Zimbabwe’s national park, the fear is that with the takeover of the conservancy the rhino population will be at risk.
President Mugabe under political pressure from moderates in his party & the E.U (European Union) threat of sanctions declared that all conservancies in the country be turned into national parks. However so far it remains to be seen whether his directive has being taken out. There are also fears that if all conservancies were to be transformed into national parks there would be a decline in standards, due to lack of govt funding as well as poaching.