Politics & General News

Conservancy Invasion: A tale of greed

In a tale of greed and abuse of power an influential chief in the Midlands province has thrown his weight behind the white owners of a private conservancy that has been invaded by top government officials, who are now resorting to racist taunts.In Zimbabwe, the majority of chiefs — mostly conservative custodians of local customs and traditions — are considered sympathetic to the government and ruling Zanu PF even though, once in a while, some bolt out of the box, but not without the persecution that usually comes with it.As we reported in a December 2021 investigation done with support from Information for Development Trust, two serving ambassadors, an Airforce of Zimbabwe boss, top bureaucrats as well as ruling party members are among scores of individuals who invaded the 63,000-hectare Midlands Black Rhino Conservancy (MBRC) located in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province.The settlers include Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, David Douglas Hamadziripi, the current envoy to the United Nations Albert Ranganai Chimbindi, the former permanent representative to the United Nations Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Gweru-based Airforce of Zimbabwe base commander Marcelino Jaya, army captain Benson Munyanduki and Finance ministry chief director Clive Mphambela.Charles Sungwa, a chartered quantity surveyor running a consultancy in South Africa, is also on the list of invaders.The Environment ministry distanced itself from the controversial Lands ministry-sanctioned resettling of the government officials and party members in this Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency that was once run by President Mnangagwa and then his wife, Auxillia.The settlers, leaked information shows, are adamant that they will not leave the conservancy. Instead, they are derisively urging the white directors, among them Doug King, to “go to Europe” and run conservancies there.In earlier interviews, some of the settlers argued that their occupation of MBRC was a continuation of the land redistribution programme that started in 2000 but was declared officially over less than a decade later.

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