By Lance Guma
24 September 2010
While a delegation from the coalition government is in the United States trying to get targeted sanctions removed, the ugly side of ZANU PF’s continued lawlessness stuck out like a sore thumb in the border town of Beitbridge.
Land invaders illegally occupying a game reserve in the area are reported to have slaughtered 300 zebra in the last 2 months and seven antelope this week alone. According to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) the illegal occupiers have also torn down several kilometers of specialised protective game fencing.
All this destruction is taking place on a game reserve where the owner Ian Ferguson has a court order evicting the occupiers. But this, as in all other land cases, has been ignored. Johnny Rodrigues who heads the ZCTF said: “It is tragic. Authorities have failed to enforce the judicial order and the slaughter is ongoing.”
Rodrigues visited the Denlynian and Tamari Wildlife Farm in Beitbridge after receiving reports that it had been invaded by a group calling themselves "Zhove Conservancy Co-operative." The members of this group include police, army, civil servants, rural council employees, war vets and ZANU PF activists. Because of the slaughter the eland population has dropped from 973 to 374 - a loss of 560 animals and the zebra population has fallen from 871 to 163 - a loss of 708 animals.
“The owners of the properties checked with the Deeds Registry and found that there is no such organisation as the Zhove Conservancy Co-operative registered. They took legal action against the invaders and the courts ruled that the invaders be evicted but this has been ignored and the police are reluctant to assist,” the ZCTF said. Meanwhile the invaders have also burnt approximately 200 hectares of trees and stolen solar panels and water pumps among other items of equipment.
Denlynian and Tamari Wildlife sanctuary is now a prime example of all that is wrong with Mugabe’s violent land grab. His loyalists, with the backing of state security machinery, have simply looted equipment and killed animals. Once a haven for international tourists, the sanctuary now lies desolate. Zebra carcasses are strewn all over while a luxury safari hotel that was being built has been ripped out.
All this has not stopped ZANU PF blaming targeted sanctions for the struggling economy.