INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: National Parks Operations Director- a Real

Published: Fri 13 Aug 2004 10:07 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001364
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
STATE FOR AF/S
USDOC FOR AMANDA HILLIGAS
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW
PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON
STATE PASS USDOI/FWS FOR KARL STROHMEYER
E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID BTIO EINV ECON PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: NATIONAL PARKS OPERATIONS DIRECTOR- A REAL
OPERATOR
1. (SBU) Summary: The arrest of Vitalis Chadenga, the
National Parks and Wildlife Authority's Operations
Director, yet again reveals GOZ officials' predilection
for private gain over public welfare and provides an
insight into the fate of wildlife land if nationalized.
End Summary
2. (U) According to the August 4, 2004 edition of the GOZ-
controlled Herald newspaper, Vitalis Chadenga was
arrested on Monday, August 2, for "allegedly capturing
wild animals worth about[Z]$198 million [approximately
US$36543.43] without a permit and defrauding his employer
of about [Z]$3,5 million [approximately US$645.96]." In
addition to faking overseas official travel, Chadenga is
also implicated in "captur[ing] 15 sable and 30 kudus in
Mashonaland West for his personal use." He probably
exported the animals or sold them as trophies.
3. (SBU) According to World Wildlife Fund's Raoul DuToit,
the head of the Nyamaneche Game Capture Unit in Mvurwi
assisted with the animal captures. Chadenga has also
connived with South African safari operators in the
Marongora and Matetsi areas.
4. (SBU) National Parks' General Secretary Dr. Morris
Mtsambiwa told EconOff the "investigations are underway
on allegations of capture and translocation of game
without a permit involving Mr. Chadenga and Game
Management Africa. While the police are carrying out
their investigations we are also carrying our own
investigations and have since suspended one of our
officers on the ground who actually took part in the
capture of three sables in one of our parks. We still
have to establish Mr. Chadenga's involvement."
5. (SBU) Comment: Once again, we see GOZ officials making
private again out of public positions. This does not bode
well for conservancies and other wildlife areas.
Mtsambiwa assured EconOff that the selection process for
proposed 25-year leases would ensure that only committed
conservationists would receive wildlife area lands. Given
the GOZ's management of the fast track land reform
process, including numerous and credible allegations of
high-placed party officials receiving prime land and
failing to utilize it, we are skeptical about such
assurances. Additionally, with National Parks officials
illegally taking animals off GOZ-protected lands, one
worries whether nationalized conservancies will face a
similar fate.
Sullivan
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