By: Anthony Bwalya – UPND Member
The rate at which the Patriotic Front (PF) regime, with Ronald Chitotela at the helm of the Ministry of Tourism, are capturing wild animals from our various national parks is disturbingly worrying.
It is a well established fact, that powerful political power brokers connected to the PF and statehouse have recently been moving animals from our national parks into private game reserves.
Some of these animals are ending up in game ranches owned by PF politicians.
These individuals are known to be actively moving large numbers of animals annually across Eastern, Central and Southern Provinces of Zambia.
The effects are Twofold:
1. Intended effects
They are diverting guaranteed tourism revenue, both current and future, away from communities that house our national parks and depriving the national treasury of the much needed FOREX arising from the tourism sector. Both tourists and private game hunters are now spending millions of dollars in private game reserves rather than in our national parks.
The kickbacks for all this plunder of wildlife is going to politicians in the PF regime.
2. Unintended effects
Wild animals carry a lot of disease which are very expensive to control.
A known friend of the PF regime is known to be responsible for the spread of animal diseases in the Chisamba area of Central Province because he has been allowed to continue to capture and move animals from our national parks and into his private game ranch.
There is now another friend of the PF regime, who has been given huge sways of land in the middle of a national park in the Kazungula area.
This individual is in fact a persona non grata in two named Southern African countries understandably on wildlife offenses.
All the costs for associated with the control of animal diseases arising from this reckless moving of wildlife are being lumped on our already thin national treasury.
Why must Zambians be paying for the corruption activities associated with wildlife?
Zambia and Zambians have an opportunity to secure future and guaranteed revenues arising from the tourism sector, but only if we commit to protecting our wildlife better.
The PF are busy making noise about an already dead, finite mining industry when they and their friends are all out securing for themselves guaranteed future, regenerative revenues by transforming our wildlife into personal property.
Zambians must not, cannot and should not allow this.