TRADITIONAL leaders in Tsholotsho have petitioned the Tsholotsho Rural District Council to reverse its decision to put to tender hunting concessions in the district.
Report by Divine Dube
The local authority recently advertised tender notices seeking a partner in carrying out trophy hunting in the Tsholotsho South concession, starting from the beginning of this month.
“The current quota has a substantial number of trophy bull elephants . . . The area has enjoyed good trophy quality because of its close proximity to Hwange National Park,” reads part of the notice advertised on January 20. “Other prices for soft skin game shall be negotiated with the successful tenderer.”
But traditional leaders led by Chief Tategulu petitioned the local authority to cancel the tender, claiming it was done without their consent. The chiefs want Gariya Safaris, which has been working on the concession over the years, to be retained.
The petition — a copy of which is in NewsDay’s possession — was signed by 28 headmen on February 2.
“Representatives from wards 10 and 8 have been here intending to discuss the issue of the Gariya Safaris tender with your office, but you disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
“We arrived at your premises around 9am and left at 3:30pm with not even one of you in your office, which is grossly surprising because we did not mean any harm to your honour,” reads part of the petition.
“So please stop giving our tender to anyone else without our consent.
“We mean to resuscitate Gariya Safaris to manage our social responsibilities.”
The traditional leaders said they had the support of villagers and wanted Gariya Safaris to be allowed to revive its operations. Chief Tategulu also wrote a letter to the council airing similar sentiments.
Part of the letter reads: “I have heard the people’s plea saying they are requesting that Gariya Safaris be given a second chance and I said let the will of the people of Tsholotsho prevail since Gariya Safaris was now offering to buy the elephants at a higher price.”
The Communal Areas Management Programmes for Indigenous Resources (commonly known by the acronym Campfire) committees and council officials met early this month to address the matter and had resolved to settle it yesterday.
But sources close to the developments told NewsDay that council had deferred the meeting to an unknown date.