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media blames Hwange poaching crisis on targeted sanctions
Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa
September 24, 2013
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on the SW Radio Africa website
The state media
campaign to make targeted western sanctions the scapegoat for Zimbabwe’s
problems reached new levels on Tuesday, with the Herald newspaper
blaming the measures for the poaching
crisis at the Hwange National Park.
least 81 elephants and an untold number of other animals in
Hwange have died after members of a suspected poaching syndicate
laced salt licks with cyanide and placed the salt at water sources
used by the elephants. Nine people have been arrested.
mouthpiece newspaper reported Tuesday that the mass elephant deaths
“have been attributed to the West’s illegal economic
sanctions that affected Zimbabwe’s once-vibrant wildlife management
which has been relentless in its publication of anti-sanctions rhetoric,
said that it conducted a week-long investigation, which revealed
“that failure by parks rangers to thwart increasing poaching
was a manifestation of the fiscal constraints that left the authority
The paper makes
no mention of the reasons why the targeted, restrictive measures
were imposed originally, which are said to be the real cause of
the funding issues at the National Parks and Wildlife Management
the Chairman of the Zimbabwe
Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) told SW Radio Africa that it
is tourism that holds the key to problems facing the cash-strapped
Authority. He emphasised that the political situation in Zimbabwe
has directly affected the amount of tourism in the country.
not getting the tourism and it’s a feeble excuse to turn around
and say it is the sanctions to blame. It has nothing to do with
tourism,” Rodrigues said.
A scrutiny meanwhile
of the targeted sanctions lists from the US, Canada, the European
Union (EU) and Australia all reveal that the National Parks and
Wildlife Management Authority is not listed as an entity facing
European and American officials who have spoken to SW Radio Africa
in recent weeks, the targeted measures were a direct result of human
rights atrocities and incidents of vote rigging, the same issues
that have driven tourists away from Zimbabwe for more than a decade.
to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton told SW Radio Africa that his country’s
measures were imposed as a reaction to these issues.
were originally imposed against people we felt were making decisions
which were weakening Zimbabwe, decisions to abrogate the rule of
law, decisions to not respect fully the human rights of the people
of Zimbabwe, and decisions to weaken democratic institutions,”
He added: “We
believed targeted sanctions would bring pressure on these people…this
is a small group of people that we think have the power to strengthen
or weaken Zimbabwe. As long as we believe that they are making decisions
to weaken Zimbabwe, we will have the measures in place.”
He said the
measures are not to blame for Zimbabwe’s economic woes, saying
the country’s “sovereign policy decisions” are
the real reasons for the fiscal meltdown seen over the last 14 years.
see that in 1997 the government made some sovereign decisions that
had a very direct, clear affect on the economy. The infamous crash
of Zimbabwe’s dollar in 1997 is a good example. Look also
at the decision to send military forces to the DRC, which was costing
Zimbabwe at least million dollars a day for couple years,”
“We look at the way the fast track land reform process was
conducted and the very clear affect that had on food security on
this nation’s ability to export and attract investors.”
I add all of that up, it is pretty clear that the condition of Zimbabwe’s
economy today is directly related to sovereign policy decisions
and not because of targeted sanctions,” the Ambassador said.
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