Friday, February 02, 2007

Zambia conservation:light and dark...

January of 2007 started with a truce meeting between government, rural communities and safari operators. The door was open we were told for a new beginning. The optimists (the minority) opted for immediate meetings with the 'Big Men'; the skeptics counseled a waiting period - the wise hunter approach; the cynics said that the "Big men' were merely playing for time so that they could enter the land of free speech in peace. Well, the optimists engaged and were told some rather brazen porkies; the skeptics proved to be right; the cynics, knowing full well the price of everything but the value of nothing, said that honesty and service to the nation is not an endemic concept and therefore one should expect nothing. Those of us in the first group took a rare old pasting. However, I called in to the office of the Chairman of th Zambia Wildlife Authority Board today, finding him newly returned from his trip to Washington and the hunting convention in Reno in company with Minister Pande and Dr Saiwana, the head of the Zambia Wildllife Authority. He urged me to be patient, that he would be arranging a series of meetings soon for all concerned in Zambia to discuss such matters as the auctioning of elephant hunting permits, which the Natural Resources Consultative Forum had advised should not be done, and were ignored. What is in his favour, Walusiku Lisulo, that is, is the fact that he is an architect and he knows something therefore of project management and the dangers of building on sand. Let us wait in the company of skeptics.

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