Saturday, March 31, 2007

Zambia's Chief Nyawa of the Sichifulo Game Management Area

Speech of His Royal Highness Chief Nyawa, at a meeting with DG ZAWA and Sichifulo GMA operator held on 16/03/07.

Welcome everyone to this meeting.
I speak on behalf of the people of Nyawa my subjects, my own and those who are in the same precarious condition as we are. This meeting that we are having today is but one of those in a series that have been held at our cost in terms of money, time and energy yet it has become a vicious cycle. My people and I are not ready to be taken for a ride while institutions and private individuals are plundering our resources in full view and in some cases with full co-operation of those entrusted to protect them. In view of this, let me address the issue of the concession holders in Sichifulo GMA. During a meeting we held last year at my palace together with His Royal Highness Chief Siachitema, we resolved that he leaves the area once and for all. Despite many of our efforts to have him out, he is still showing his head and ZAWA is at home with such an operator.
The following were the reasons why we wanted him out and still stand as justification of his being not of any help:

• No employment of a liaison office.
As provided and required in the pledges list in the Hunting Concession Agreement dually signed by our CRB, ZAWA and the operator, we expected to have a liaison officer. To date there is no such a person employed to help bring harmony and feed both sides with information. This is there in the agreement but the operator has decided to do all the work on his own. Due to this, we do not have a focal person who in our view would be available to us and update us.

• No benefits
We have got nothing so far from the GMA despite the hunting which have been taking place. Can anyone responsible and sensible justify this theft and plunder going unabated. We are aware that even other CRBs are owed money running into billions but we can not accept to be cheated out when our animals are being hunted and the money disappears in the thin hair. Is there any justification of the existence of the GMA when the objectives which it was suppose to achieve are far from being realistic, attainable, tangible and measurable?

• Depletion of Sichifulo GMA
Today our GMA is a secondary hunting area when both ZAWA and the operator are benefiting from the last animals being killed there. There is no programe put in place to help resuscitate, protect and responsible management of our wildlife. Why is this audacity and disregard for natural justice to do good being perpetrated by the operator with impunity and ZAWA is fully aware and can not do anything in a positive direction? Today the depleted GMA is a play ground for any poacher and the abuse of even legal hunting is the order of the day. If I may ask can ZAWA and the operator justify their presence in the GMA as adding value to it or contributing factors to its depletion? We know what they all stand for and what they have done to our GMA. No Govt agent like ZAWA can claim being responsible when a protected area can go from prime to depleted status under their supervision. Where were they?

The total effects of the negligence by both ZAWA and the operator have had the following effects on the resources and the people of Nyawa.

• Total Loss of confidence in ZAWA and the operator
The traditional leadership and the Nyawa community have lost confidence in both the operator and ZAWA for failure to bring sanity and make a difference. Instead, the GMA has been depleted at a very alarming rate and level ever experience in the whole history of the Nyawa people. The role and perceived partnership with you is seen as a ploy to save your own interest at the expense of the community. How would we have faith and trust in you when your presence in our GMA has caused the worst plunder of our resources. There is no motivation for our people to give you the slightest support when all you have done is to amass benefits to yourselves at the expense of even the resources which are the goose that lays the golden eggs.

• Encouragement of Poaching.
Our community scouts have stayed for over 20months without getting their pay. These are the people which both ZAWA and the operator expect to fully protect our GMA. Honestly this is not fair and least expected of them. It is logical to say the protector will become the abuser if you do not meet his welfare. These officers have families, kids to take to school and person responsibilities to take care of. If they are not paid for 20months + what are they eating, how are they taking their kids to schools and looking after themselves? This is a breeding ground for corruption, resources abuses and poaching at its best. These are clear issues and on the ground situations which unfortunately are taking place in places where money is being made for other important individuals and institutions. Those getting the lion’s share (ZAWA and the operator) from our rural resources are taking the least responsibilities and we the owner of the “pool resources” and the least beneficiaries if any are concerned.
It is clear that there is no motivation in both ZAWA and the operator to take quick action because they have other areas they can go to and abuse. What would you two lose if today our GMA was turned into a desert? You will simply relocate your businesses elsewhere and continue abusing rural resources. Sichifulo will be a forgotten story and you will never ever step there again. At the helm of encouraging poaching if not involved in are the uncaring operator and ZAWA.

• Encouraged Encroachments.
The current conservation effort of our GMA has made no difference on the lives of people and many have seen the area more as a potential crop land and pasturing area. This is so because those getting the lions ‘share have failed to justify why the area should be left as a GMA. It is the responsibility of ZAWA and the hunting safari operator to help redress the situation but all we see is nothing of such action. There is no justification for you getting more money when you are doing nothing in our area. Once again we the community leaders and our people getting nothing as at now are once taking up the responsibilities to protect our GMA. Surely why should you be getting more than us when you are doing almost nothing. Once again at the helm of encouraging encroachment and poaching and doing nothing about stopping these rots are ZAWA and the operator.

• Negative Effect on the social-economical
The fact that conservation of rural resources is a money making venture, vice versa is true of what is happening in our area. To the common man our GMA is nothing rather than a piece of unproductive land being put to no use. This negative attitude is deliberately created so that individuals amass wealth at the expense of the actual owners, we the Nyawa people. Neither ZAWA nor the operator can stand proudly and give even a single indicator to the people of Nyawa that their social-economics have being positively affected by the money they are making in Sichifulo. Can anyone of you give such an example? Definitely you have nothing to show. This is a typical example where Govt institutions and individuals because of the connections to the power that be have taken people for granted. There is no reason beyond that. If your involvement in our land has a zero effect on our lives then you are not worthy being there. Your presence is no different from thieves who come to still in a field they have no idea what crops are there.

• Political distortion
To many they are seeing our getting nothing as a political ploy to persecute the people because of their different political affiliations. The question is, to which extent is even the Head of State aware of this abuse and negligence. I said in my opening remarks that, we are aware that this negligence is country wide and many are owed billions of money. Unless people get the realistic, tangible and equitable benefits, the fate of the GMA is viewed as a ploy by ZAWA and the operator to deny the people of their benefits.

• Way Forward,
I stand by our last year’s resolution that the operator has failed and must without delay leave the area. There is no doubt that we the Nyawa aspire to maximise the benefits from our GMA and we will endevour to protect our rights to that. All we want is sanity to come back and our resources protected from designed abuse and uncontrolled harvest. We want a new operator who will look beyond a year’s hunt. We do not want to have the like of the failed former Dept. of National Parks and Wildlife Services Director, no. There are responsible operators who treat their areas as their own sources of livelihood and have helped to conserve the resources in a more meaningful way, not this operators way.

• Conclusion
From the many failures and problems identified, there is no doubt that there are institutional problems in ZAWA that have spread into operation and management. We the Nyawa people are willing and capable to call for a total change that will secure our interest unlike the way we are being treated by businessmen who have no responsibilities over our resources. Finally, let the operator go in peace he and his group have failed. If ZAWA has any place for abuse let them give them to him, as for Sichifulo we have had enough. This is an indication that there are failures by the new system (ZAWA) and therefore need for a comprehensive and complete review. No one will do this for us if those entrusted to do it are the abusers and do not care. The Nyawa people would be in the forefront to call for a complete change that respects partnership as the current system is not working for us but businessmen and ZAWA. Unless something is done to protect our interest, we will submit a formal complaint of non payment to relevant authorities and institute independent investigations.
The list of the rot is endless and the existence of a government conservation agency (ZAWA) seems non existence and doing nothing. By copy of this I am asking those copied to look critically on the issues I have raised and help come up with a way forward for the interest of us all. Let us not pretend this is not what is expected of ZAWA and any operators. We need change in the right direction radical or otherwise.

His Royal Highness Chief Nyawa v

C.c. Min. of Tourism, Lusaka
C.c. Southern Province Minister, Livingstone
C.c. House of Chiefs,
C.c. Board Chairperson ZAWA
C.c. Tourism Council of Zambia,
C.c. Professionals Hunters Association of Zambia (PHAZ)
C.c. Operators Association of Zambia
C.c. Co-Chairpersons, Natural Resources Consultative Forum Committee,
C.c. Chairperson, Natural Resources and Environmental Committee (Nyawa Royal Establishment)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Zambia and the rule of law...

As a fellow investor in the tourism industry and in rural development, and as a corporate member of Business Action for Africa, an organization based in London and established under the Commission for Africa which lobbied successfully for major debt write-offs to Zambia by our G8 Group of Nations, the deportation on Saturday of Mr Ross Michelson is an extremely serious departure from the rule of law and from common decency. This man has been abused by the Zambian Government: his hunting lease removed without reason and without due process, accused of crimes for which he has not been charged or found guilty in a court of law, and while out of the country marketing Zambia, deported under emergency powers still in force from the Chiluba regime – all of this instigated by a rival business group having undue political influence within the tourism sector and who slaver after his concessions and his game ranch. And then Mr Michelson, when allowed back in to the country by the Attorney-General - the Department of Immigration at Lusaka airport allowing him ingress, is, in defiance of the judiciary, arrested and bundled onto a plane for another country.

Michelson’s and my lawyer, Wynter Kabimba, has courageously spoken out against this infringement of the African Charter of Human and People’s rights, of Michelson’s rights, of this abusive treatment of investors. For there have been other deportations of bona fide investors: an Italian farmer in Kabwe, a Dane and how many others harried out under emergency powers. But of all things – for after all we are but men, it is the contempt of the Ministry of Home Affairs for the judiciary which is the most serious threat to our fledgling democracy. ‘This is not a democracy like America or Britain,’ thundered the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources to me the other day. Well no, fine.

It is time for the British High Commissioner to make it absolutely clear that such treatment of one of its citizen investors is totally unacceptable, and to talk less of ending protectionism in Europe and more of the necessity for the Zambian Government to adhere to western liberal democratic standards. And our other mother countries: Ireland, Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, America, Canada, to name but a few, need to take note and resist the fashionable sycophancy. We are in the trenches here.

I.P.A. Manning
5 March 07

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dr Saiwana of ZAWA defends himself...

ACC arrests senior cop

By Times Reporter

THE Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has arrested a senior police officer and two other persons for allegedly soliciting for K6.3 million from Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Director General Lewis Saiwana.
The senior police officer and two others allegedly solicited for K6.3 million as an inducement or reward for them to quash a case of money laundering against Dr Saiwana.
ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono said in Lusaka yesterday the three were arrested following investigations.
Mr Moono identified the officer as assistant superintendent Samuel Nyirongo of police headquarters who has been charged with one count of corrupt practice by a public officer contrary to Section 29 (1) (a) and 41 of the ACC Act number 42 of 1996.
Two of his accomplices, Stephen Shinondo of plot number 7846, New Mumbwa road, and Rodgers Shakalima of plot 33/15 off Vubu road, Emmasdale, have been charged with one count of corrupt practices by private persons contrary to sections 31 (1) and 41 of the ACC Act number 42 of 1996. The trio has been released on police bond and will appear in court soon.
And ACC acting director of investigations Isaac Chilanga commended the Police Service for reporting the matter to the commission.