By Tichaona Sibanda
Plans by the government to pardon villagers in Tsholotsho, who surrender the toxic cyanide that has been used to kill elephants in the Hwange national park, has raised disquiet among opposition MPs.
Only individuals with mining licences can purchase the dangerous substance from reputable chemical stores and there are suspicions that the same people with mining rights in and around Hwange supplied the chemicals to the villagers.
During a government task force visit to the district last week Saviour Kasukuwere, the Environment Minister, assured the villagers that Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi had agreed not to punish them if they handed in the cyanide still in their possession.
However the newly elected MDC-T MP for Tsholotsho, Roselene Nkomo, has questioned the decision by Kasukuwere to pardon the villagers before they disclose what they know about the scandal.
Nkomo told SW Radio Africa on Monday that ‘someone out there is a culprit’ over this heinous act to poison the elephants. She said there is an ‘individual or individuals’ liable for the poaching and government should get to the bottom of the issue before pardoning anybody.
‘The task force has started on a bad note. They fly into my constituency without having the courtesy to inform me of their mission. Why they decided to sideline me I don’t know, but this is a national problem that needs input from everybody,’ Nkomo said. More....