Nhema said Save Valley was the only conservancy giving problems


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Environment Minister Francis Nhema told United States ambassador Charles Ray two years ago that the government had decided way back in 2000 that conservancy owners should look for local partners but Save Valley was the only one out of seven giving problems on indigenisation.

He said wildlife land in seven conservancies, about 1.8 million hectares, was transferred to the Ministry of Environment on condition that indigenisation was accommodated.

The ministry had not established percentage requirements but looked at each case individually.

Nhema said of the 26 properties in the SVC, 18 or 19 had been resolved and he was working with the remaining owners to complete the indigenisation process.

He said that no owners were being unduly pressured and he continued to mediate between them and prospective partners.

Any deal had to be based on a business negotiation. A government official could not just impose himself.

An American citizen who owned one of the properties Weldon Schenck told the embassy that the governor of Masvingo Province Titus Maluleke and an army official Lt. Col David Moyo were pressuring him to become partners.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 10HARARE66, AMBASSADOR’S COURTESY CALL ON ZIMBABWE MINISTER OF

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

10HARARE66

2010-02-02 07:01

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3682

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0066/01 0330701

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

R 020701Z FEB 10

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5358

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3289

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3400

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1823

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2657

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0006

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0088

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0090

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2560

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000066

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR BRIAN WALCH

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2020

TAGS: PREL PGOV SENV CITES KGHG ZI

SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S COURTESY CALL ON ZIMBABWE MINISTER OF

ENVIRONMENT

 

REF: A. HARARE 064

B. HARARE 063

 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CHARLES A. RAY FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) and (d)

 

1. (U) The Ambassador paid a courtesy call on Minister of

Environment Frances Nhema on January 29 and delivered

demarches on the Copenhagen Accord and CITES (Refs). Other

discussion focused on land conservancies and indigenization,

conservation of rhinos, and the political situation in

Zimbabwe.

2. (U) Nhema said that in 2000, as land reform was

undertaken, Cabinet made a decision to treat wildlife land

different from agricultural land. Wildlife land in seven

private conservancies, about 1.8 million hectares, was

transferred to the Ministry of Environment on condition that

indigenization be accommodated. As part of the

indigenization process, according to Nhema, conservancy

owners are expected to look for partners, partner with local

councils, or ask the Ministry for suggestions of partners.

The Ministry has not established percentage requirements but

looks at each case individually.

3. (U) According to Nhema, the only conservancy area that

has presented problems as far as indigenization is the Save

Valley Conservancy (SVC). Of 26 properties in the SVC, 18 or

19 have been resolved and he is working with the remaining

owners to complete the indigenization process. Nhema said

that no owners are being unduly pressured and he continues to

mediate between them and prospective partners. Any deal must

be based on a business negotiation; a government official

cannot just impose himself. (NOTE: One of the outstanding

conservancy owners is Amcit Weldon Schenck who has told the

Embassy that the governor of Masvingo Province and an army

official, Lt Col David Moyo, are pressuring him to become

partners. According to Schenck, many of the owners who have

accepted new partners are white Zimbabweans who fear violent

takeovers of their properties. END NOTE.)

 

4. (U) Nhema told the Ambassador that Zimbabwe has lost 50

rhinos over the last two or three years; he said that a

population that was once 2000 is now 900. The Parks and

Wildlife Service has cut horns and placed tracking devices on

rhinos, according to Nhema, but poaching continues. (NOTE:

Many of these successful rhino monitoring projects are

carried out by local NGOs with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

funding. END NOTE.) Nhema added that he continued to search

for solutions. He denied that high-ranking Zimbabwean

officials were involved in rhino poaching and said he is

trying to determine who is responsible. (NOTE: Nhema’s

numbers are optimistic and gravely out of date. According to

a November 2009 report to the CITES Secretariat by local

rhino specialists, Zimbabwe has roughly 700 rhinos — 300

white and 420 black — and 235 rhinos have been killed in

Zimbabwe since 2006. END NOTE.)

 

5. (U) Turning to politics, Nhema said that the Global

Political Agreement had reduced tensions and there now was a

more civil discourse between the parties. With Zimbabweans

beginning to find common ground, elections should not take

Qbeginning to find common ground, elections should not take

place next year. The Western world, according to Nhema,

wanted to rush Zimbabwe’s development, but that would not

work; Zimbabwe had to develop at its own pace.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

6. (C) Nhema, who is separated from the daughter of Joshua

Nkomo, is considered by some to be a ZANU-PF moderate, but he

is reportedly close to Mugabe. He is soft-spoken and comes

across as reasonable. He is, however, at least somewhat

disingenuous. With respect to conservancies, as noted, we

have credible reports that some owners in the SVC are in fact

receiving significant pressure to take on local partners, and

 

HARARE 00000066 002 OF 002

 

 

Nhema is not playing a neutral role. When we posited to

Nhema, again based on credible reports, that ZANU-PF was

using intimidation in rural areas to gain support for its

positions in the constitutional process, he denied this. In

short, he toes the ZANU-PF line. END COMMENT.

 

RAY

 

(10 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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