By Caiphas Chimhete
Consorvations have called for an independent probe into elephant poaching blamed on senior government officials but they fear that the results may be stifled like previous ones that allegedly fingered senior officers in the security forces.
Some suggested that the inquiry must include local and international investigators to avoid piece-meal probes that cover-up instead of exposing the culprits.
Already, senior government officials, including five cabinet ministers, have been fingered in the scandal believed to have claimed up to 500 elephants in a few months.
“There have been several inquiries related to poaching, some resulted in the deaths of rangers and security forces, but the outcomes were never made public, or they left a lot more questions than answers,” said one conservationist, who has been following poaching trends for the past three decades. “We now need a truly independent inquiry.”
The MDC-T has also weighed in, also calling for an independent commission to investigate the poaching scandal.
“We reiterate our position, that the people involved in the purchasing of cyanide that is used to kill the elephants are not the villagers, but a well-connected and orchestrated international syndicate, which involves some senior politicians in conjunction with senior wild park officials,” said MDC-T Shadow Minister for Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Thamsanqa Mahlangu.
He added: “The trade in cyanide is a complex business, which simple villagers in Matabeleland North cannot carry out without the involvement of well-connected politicians and corrupt officials who are linked to Zanu PF.” More....