On the afternoon of August 17th or 18th of this year we were on our way to Kaingu Camp in Kafaue National Park when we came across what appeared to be a safari camp. I turned out to be a hunting camp well within the boundaries of the Kafue. Our guide, who worked for a poaching control unit, but not within ZAWA itself stopped and motioned to armed seven men standing near the bush line. There were others dismantling the camp. Finally. what proved to be the camp cook approached our vehicle and began conversing with our Guide, whose name for reasons of his safety I cannot reveal. Under questioning the Cook freely admitted that we had come upon a hunting camp in KNP. He further said, without the least hesitation or embarrassment that they had been ordered into the park to shoot one buffalo and an impala.
When our guide said it was against the law to shoot wildlife in KNP the cook opened his hands wide, shrugged and said, “But it was ordered by the authorities higher up. When our guide asked who that authority might be, again without hesitation the cook said “the President. President Edward Lungu. He ordered the buffalo shot for himself and his staff.”
After a few more words our guide thanked the Cook for his honesty, drove off and down the road radioed his boss. Because of his safari business our guide works as a volunteer poaching spotter only.
In turn, for our and his safety the boss told him to drive on to our next destination. He would contact him the next day.
The next morning he called and confirmed to our guide that the line of orders went from the hunting camp, led by one black Zambian and one white South African, up through ZAWA command to the president’s cabinet onto President Lunga himself. There is nothing more to be done, were more or less his last words. The event was such a mind blower it took a full day before I could collect my thoughts and resume our safari.
Sincerely, Christopher Burchfield