BY now the world is sufficiently saturated with, and nauseated (presumably) by the news of the death of a lion called Cecil that was allegedly killed by a tourist hunter in Hwange three weeks ago. Suddenly — boom! — at the beginning of this week, the death is all over the news across main media houses. And boy, there is some deal of mourning!
Here is how the CNN eulogised:
“Cecil the lion is dead, killed illegally in Zimbabwe, authorities allege, by a foreign hunter or hunters who paid about $55 000 for the privilege…He was lured out of a national park with food, shot with a crossbow, tracked for 40 more hours, then finished off with a gun, said Johnny Rodrigues, head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.”
We are also told: “Cecil is survived by about six lionesses with whom he mated regularly and about 24 cubs…”
The Guardian tells us that, “Cecil’s death is a tragedy, not only because he was a symbol of Zimbabwe…”
The paper also explains that, “The incident, which occurred earlier this month and has only just come to light, has caused outrage in Zimbabwe, coming only days after the ZCTF (Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force) revealed that 23 elephant calves had been separated from their herds in Hwange and exported to zoos in China and the United Arab Emirates.”
Other Western media outlets such as the BBC now believe that it is time to punish African countries for their “failure” to protect wildlife, which punishment is administered via bans in trading in wildlife species and issuance of hunting licences or permits.
So: “Conservationists and politicians have called on the EU to ban the import of lion heads, paws and skins as hunters’ trophies from African countries that cannot prove their lion populations are sustainable, following the killing of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion by a European hunter with a bow and arrow.”
What’s in a name?
You cannot escape the significance of the name of this wild animal which European capitals are mourning.
The name belonged to an arch imperialist and racist in Southern Africa, Cecil John Rhodes who wanted to colonise the rest of Africa and especially so by deploying fatal fire-power against natives.
It is on record that Cecil John Rhodes wanted to exterminate blacks in Southern Africa just as whites did in America.
How someone thought it such a good idea to christen a lion after the infamous plunderer and murderer who roamed dangerously in Africa can only be a matter of conjecture.
(It must be borne in mind that lions bearing the same Oxford collars like the famous Cecil for an Oxford University research killed many poor villagers in Hwange and surrounding areas).
But don’t accuse us of being simplistic to the extent that we have called this poor lion an imperialist!
But then the animal is now being called “a symbol of Zimbabwe”!
Yet there are other interesting points to observe.
Cecil the lion is now talked of as a person and a family person and whatever terms are ascribable to humans in some dark pathos.
It is the same trick that only yesterday was deployed when elephant calves — part of an overpopulation of the species — were being sold by Zimbabwe which cannot cope with a surfeit of over twice its carrying capacity of 30 000 or so thousand.
Once again, western media are trying to portray Zimbabwe as an outpost of lawlessness simply because a random criminal, which we now hear is of American stock — has killed an animal in the country.
While it is never acceptable for such occurrences to happen, you begin to get a whiff of something very smelly.
The name Cecil, naturally, is smelly to us Africans.
The hullabaloo over Cecil the Lion makes the whole episode so smelly, especially when the incident begins to be used as an excuse, a cover, to prevent the country from exploiting its God-given resources.
We have been down that road before, have we not?
The man who is kicking a lot of dust over this issue of a lion that has been poached is called Johnny Rodriguez who runs an organisation called Zimbabwe Conservation task-force.
This shadowy organisation and its shadowy leader are not just animal activists but have an all too political agenda against Zimbabwe being peopled with whites that formerly were big in the safari and conservation business which operated in the shadows in that they were not accountable to anyone and would run private ventures where they creamed huge profits which they kept in foreign banks.
Their shadowy activities included running global networks of rich white and Asian people who would fly into the country using private jets, kill game for trophies and spirit out of the country.
Their lairs are highly secure and are operated on an apartheid basis.
Now, most of these people lost, and are set to lose their farms and conservancies to black people under the models of land reform including one called Wildlife Based Land Reform Programme, which may allow blacks to lease such farms for up to 25 years renewable.
Whites, especially of Rhodesian stock, are veritable victims.
These are the same people, or friends of whom, have been crying blue murder in white western media and seeking to have wildlife sanctions invoked against Zimbabwe.
This is why they talk and whine about animals and giving them humane feature to evoke sufficient pity and anger.
But our Johnny Rodrigues is even more sinister — and the sooner authorities get down to the bottom of the matter and his mischief the better.
In January 2013, he was actively campaigning to have Zimbabwe denied the right to host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly meeting, which Zimbabwe successfully did in spite of western pressures to deny Zimbabwe such a life-time opportunity and one which was Zimbabwe’s biggest marketing tool.
Johnny Rodriguez was making the same facile arguments about Zimbabwe not complying with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), when in fact, no such official complaint had come from the responsible body.
But he insisted: “At the moment we are working on trying to get the UNWTO General Assembly from taking place in Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe is not meeting the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulations.”
In between, he has been involved in everything seeking to discredit Zimbabwe including wading into the Manzou Farm saga in which opposition parties sought to smear the name of the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe by insinuating that she was kicking out villagers to pave way for animals.
Apparently believing that the First Lady was indeed on it, he gave a pre-emptive statement to the opposition mouthpiece Daily News saying, “I think it is wrong what they are doing,” Rodriguez said.
“Mazowe is an agricultural area and the wild animals will cause a lot of problems for the villagers. I think Mazowe should be reserved for agriculture activities and not a game park. But we know that when you talk about the ‘Big Five’ you are talking about big monies…But we can’t put money first ahead of the people,” he said.
Last month Rodriguez tried to influence the United States of America, a hostile superpower against Zimbabwe, to intervene in the country ostensibly to save elephants.
He petitioned State Department’s John Kerry. When the US apparently did not heed the petition, Rodriguez “filed a complaint in the District Court of the District of Columbia asking for an order requiring the United States to promptly respond to their petition to condemn and help prevent these horrific round-ups of baby elephants,” according to reports.
Clearly, Rodriguez’s concerns are more than conservation issues.
They are dark and sinister and deeply political.
It is in light of this that we must understand the current hullabaloo over Cecil the Lion, which is a stinking conspiracy.