several years, human and wildlife conflict (HWC) in Dewe Ward 17 one of the six
wards bordering the Matopos National Park has been a significant problem, not
only has HWC led to loss of livestock and crops but also loss of lives.
are particularly common near protected areas where human and wildlife
requirements overlap. For the Ward 17 community all these challenges can be
resolved if the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) and the Rural
District Council work together. They are confident that actions regarding the
control of problem animals might be resolved if they are devolved to the
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in partnership with Caritas
Bulawayo in their project to promote farmers’ rights and natural resource
management have over the past five years ensured that they enhance engagement
between these stakeholders. During a recently held engagement meeting organized
by the two-organizations whose objective was to come up with strategies that
will help farmers working closely with ZimParks to address HWC, farmers
expressed satisfaction over the several capacity building initiatives and legal
support being offered by the organization.
the meeting, Zimparks Official Mr. Kainos
Mugande expressed determination to work with locals in dealing with issues of
HWC. He highlighted that some challenges would have been easily resolved if
only the locals were aware of the chain of communication.
Zimparks we are responsible for conserving Zimbabwe’s wildlife, and it is
important that you do the same. I am sorry of the sad incident that led to loss
of life and do assure you that in future if you make formal reports, the
Authority will swiftly act as has always been the norm. We have realized that
in some instances, communities assume reports would have been made to Parks and
such assumptions tend to cost us.
there are troublesome animals, the RDC can report these to the Parks who can do
an Ecological assessment. In some instances, rangers react to problem animal control
using lethal and non-lethal methods.
Every course of action is for the benefit of the community, that is why
CAMPFIRE exists. Communities are also allowed to come up with proposals. We
have seen some communities coming up with good wildlife ranching proposals and
some recommending good photographic safaris.”
farmers also enquired about the issue of compensation when they lose livestock,
crops, and even lives because of HWC. The authority indicated that RDC does
compensate. However, the Council was not present to respond to some of the
farmers also enquired about the contents of Cecil John Rhodes’ will who was
buried in Matobo’s World View. The Parks Authorities also gave an assurance
that they would enquire about the issue and give feedback.
addition, there was also a query on the Parks’ commitment to employ locals and
if it is inclusive considering that only a few have benefited from contractual
arrangements. The Authority indicated
that they have managed to employ several locals. It is mostly those who have
worked with Zimparks even for a short period and have had a history with the
Institution who normally benefit.
local farmer, Silindile Moyo emphasized that it is through such engagements
that assist in resolving contentious issues. Her hope is to see the project
reaching out to as many people as possible. She argues that if all stakeholders
work together for the common good most of the issues can be resolved.
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association in its determination to promote farmers’
rights and natural resource management is working with farmers from Bikita,
Insiza and Matobo made possible by the generous support of Trocaire. The
project titled: Promoting a Rights Based Approach to the Utilization and
Management of Natural Resources by Smallholder Farmers’ goal is to empower
women and men to actively engage and benefit from sustainable and resilient