Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent—
Poaching is a menace to the country’s struggling economy and poachers are as good as murderers who deserve to rot in jail, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said. Officially opening the Zimbabwe National Climate Change Conference in Harare yesterday, VP Mnangagwa said poachers had to endure the wrath of long jail terms. The conference, meant to showcase Zimbabwe’s solidarity with other nations in fighting climate change, was attended by Government officials, representatives of embassies, university students and high schools pupils and other stakeholders.
“There are some people who do not want to see our country progressing forward,” he said. “These people come in form of poachers poisoning our water sources in national game parks all in efforts to selfishly gain a few horns. “In my own view, these poachers should be arrested and locked away as the jail is where they rightfully belong. Justice has to prevail and the law should strictly catch up with these criminals and all their acquaintances involved in this illegality.”
VP Mnangagwa said Government was prepared to work with the judiciary and ensure that effective and deterrent sentences were imposed on notorious individuals involved in poaching game across the country.
He said the rampant rise of poaching was a time bomb waiting to explode on economic growth. “Poaching is not only a threat to the game parks (ecosystem) that are losing elephants each year,” said VP Mnangagwa. “This is a cause for concern for the whole nation and our economic sector is at stake following these massive elephant deaths.
“Let us unite in the fight against this crisis and protect our elephants as it is the nation that ends up suffering at the carelessness of a few greedy individuals.” VP Mnangagwa commended Government’s engagement of the uniformed forces in stopping the madness of poachers.
“The security of our wild life is important as it also contributes to the general effects of climate change, we need these animals as well to supplement our ecosystem and protect the environment,” he said. Government recently deployed soldiers to national parks on a mission to investigate and make arrests of individuals involved in poaching.
Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri recently said Government efforts had shifted to all the other national parks as cases of poaching were rapidly spreading. Some arrests in relation to poaching have already been made and security agents are working tirelessly to ensure that all those involved in this illegality face the music.
“We have heard of new developments around Kariba District and Mana Pools and we have been notified that poachers are moving and multiplying in those areas. We have made one arrest in Kariba and we hope the culprit will comply with investigations so as to make more arrests,” she said.