Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Corrupt use of provisionally alienated customary land...

1. The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) state that the West Petauke Game Management Area No.17 (610,000 ha) includes the Luangwa River, although for the past four years or so hippo and crocodile have been issued on quota by ZAWA to M’nyamadzi Game Ranch (Luangwa east bank) and allowed to be shot there by M’nyamadzi owners and hunters – although Mbizi game ranch to the south, do not take crocodile or hippo from the river. The Surveyor-General in the Ministry of Lands states that private land may not encroach closer than 60 m from the Luangwa, therefore how is it possible for M’nyamadzi to hunt outside its borders? No EIA by the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) of the present fence construction has been carried out, nor any consultations with the local community, or the Mbeza concessionaire, or the Forestry Department as required by the Fencing Ordinance of the Agricultural Lands Act. The quotas issued are not sustainable for the area, offtakes obviously denuding the West Mvuvye National Forest to the north, the Nyimba Open area to the south and the West Petauke Hunting Concession to the west – Nyimba open area in Luembe having been set aside for use for a community game ranch under a proposed usufruct lease managed by the Luembe Conservancy Trust, and negotiated in 2004. Scrutiny of the two quota sets is evidence of corruption within ZAWA.
2. The 10, 500 ha ranch in question (property No. f/10005; certificate of title No. L9879), on a 25 year provisionary lease (only 14 year provisionary leases are allowed under the Lands Act of 1995), registered 9 March 2001, though obtained in 1998, is partially unfenced and adjoins the West Mvuvye National Forest No. 54 and customary land in the Luembe Chiefdom. For game ranchers to have ownership rights to wildlife they are required to fence and purchase the animals inside. This has not been done.
3. Customary landowners, through their Luembe Community Resource Board, applied for safari hunting quota in their open area (for onward sale to hunting outfitters), as well as for selected wildlife harvesting rights, and were refused by ZAWA. The latter is a denial of community rights, as contained in the Wildlife Act of 1998.
4. On the purchase of Mbeza Safaris by the founders of the Luembe Conservancy Trust at the end of 2004, hunting quotas for West Petauke were voluntarily lowered by the owners and the CRB, in the process invoking the precautionary principle as contained in the Biodiversity Convention. This was agreed to by ZAWA, who then later hiked up the quotas to previous levels in order to conform with the Hunting Concession Agreement, and then fined Mbeza $43,000 for ‘underachievement’ in the use of the qota in 2006, refusing to entertain mediation in the matter.
5. The present quotas issued to Mbeza are in some cases substantially higher than agreed to in meetings, or lower than requested.

The map provided by the Surveyor-General shows that the boundary of the farm is along the Luangwa. This would confirm that the shooting of hippo and crocodile in the river is illegal, sanctioned as it is by ZAWA.


Senior Chief Luembe and Axon Lungu (Chairman of the Luembe CRB)

In November, 2004, Luembe and the CRB wrote to ZAWA on the matter, receiving no reply:

Luembe Community Resource Board Private Bag 1 Nyimba

The Director-General
Private bag 1

Attention: G.K. Chilukusha (Director: GMAs)
9 November 2004

Dear Sirs,
Re M'nyamadzi Game Ranch. Luembe
Further to our meeting earlier today to discuss the issue of Nyamadzi, and further to our letter of complaint regarding the issue of hunting quotas being issued by ZA W A to the M'nyamadzi Game Ranch - for which no reply has been received.

The M'nyamadzi section of Luembe was given to a foreigner by Senior Chief Luembe - with the agreement of the Nyimba District Council, and the obtaining of an investment license from the Zambia Investment Centre, for a provisionary lease of 14 years. The agreement with the ZIC required the owner to fence the property and develop certain infrastructure. This has not been done and we have discovered that the lease has been illegally extended to 25 years on the original documeI) held by the Commissioner of Lands. And more, without consulting us as required by the Wildlife Act, a hunting quota was issued to the Company to conduct hunting safaris without our involvemeht and without the knowledge of local ZA W A officers. And we understand that certain species have been shot without ZA W A officers being present, some of these species (such as lions) which are very scarce in our open area, and for which we have received no income. As well, we have discovered that workers employed by M'nyamadzi have been poaching animals. The Luembe CRB therefore urgently request the following:
1. That no quota be issued in the future to M'nyamadzi
2. That a copy of the quota and the species shot be given to us
3. That all money from license and concession fees be given to the CRB, as well as compensation for our having to come to Lusaka and to hire lawyers to represent us
4. That M'nyamadzi report on how the meat from the animals was given to the community
5. That the M'nyamadzi do what they have agreed to do under their investment permit, meaning they must fence the property in such a way that it is with our agreement, and within the next six months.
6. That they must then buy the species inside the fence and pay the full price to the Luembe CRB/ZAWA
7. That any other species within the Luembe hunting block and Open Area which they may wish to buy to be agreed to only with our permission and with certain conditions given by us, and that the price be negotiated by us and ZA W A.
8. That ZA W A supports us and our patron and his headmen, in obtaining direct benefits from our wildlife for our community.

Yours sincerely,
Axon Lungu Chairman
Senior Chief Luembe Patron