Green Party president Peter Sinkamba has questioned the decision by the Ministry of Tourism to relocate the 80 Black Lechwe from Bangwelu to private game ranches.
In an interview Sinkamba said although the party supports the preservation of natural resources, the decision was reckless and maybe a hindrance to the preservation of the antelope species.
Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga disclosed that former Tourism Minister Charles Banda in March 2019 issued a capture permit for 50 Black Lechwe to Langani Game Ranch in Kazungula and 30 Black Lechwe to Kwisoko Game Farm in Lusaka.
“As a Green party we support the sustainable management of our natural resources. If for example we have some animals that are in distress in an inhabitant, for arguments sake like the inhabitants in Luangwa is stressed with hippos and it becomes evident from scientific proof that there is need to relocate the inhabitants where there is sufficient resources, we have no problem with relocation and we have seen it happen in the rest of the world. In Kenya for example there has been relocation of wildlife from one habitat to another depending on the carrying capacity of a particular eco system,” Sinkamba said.
“Now the relocation of the Black Lechwe from the Bangweulu floods which is a natural habitat… You know those lechwe are only found in that eco system they are not found anywhere else in the world besides the eco system of the Bangweulu. now someone relocates them to Kazungula which is a habitant that does not support that type of wildlife. That is recklessness of whoever was involved in authorising such kind of a transaction!”
He added the PF’s only interest in the wildlife was to make money from it.
“The problem we have with our colleagues in the PF is that they have no regard for sustainable management of natural resources, provided they are going to make money out of it; which is a wrong approach to leadership. We are in leadership not because we have to make money as leaders. We are in leadership because we need to be stewards of the resources that have been given by God. In leadership you have to be a trustee, we are only there to be trustees, it is not a looting exercise,” he added.
“Our colleagues in PF whenever they see an opportunity to make money even if it means destroying a particular eco system , for them they don’t care as long as they are going to make money. And we hope that the voters out there are going to pinpoint some of these mistakes and recklessness, that come 2021 they must be kicked out office.”
Sinkamba called for the release of the ecological report that led to the decision to have the animals relocated.
Malupenga during a briefing revealed that the Department of National Parks and Wildlife’s Research and Veterinary Unit had earlier carried out an ecological assessment at these establishments to ensure that they were habitable by the species.
“Where is the ecological report? When you are carrying out a relocation of wildlife. For example, there must be an Environmental Impact assessment and the due process is prescribed by law. You go to impact assessment regulations of 1997 that prescribes what must be done, and public consultation is key element of the implementation of the assessment,” said Sinkamba.
“When was such a kind of public discussion undertaken. The report itself must be subjected to public display so that the members of the public are able to evaluate the measures proposed and take appropriate action. Where is the report? Because the report of that nature must be in public domain, it must be on the website on Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) where is it? Where is that kind of report? There is nothing they are just telling lies.