ZIMBABWEANS yesterday took to various social media platforms to express shock at the killing of Cecil the Lion with many saying although what happened was bad, energy must be concentrated on finding missing human rights activist Itai Dzamara.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Dzamara has been missing for over four months after he was abducted by suspected State security agents.
His abduction and disappearance has, however, been eclipsed by the death of Cecil, a famous lion in Hwange National Park, that has shaken the world and triggered massive demonstrations against the American behind its killing.
The lion has made international headlines with Hollywood actors Arnold Schwarzenegger saying Cecil was not a trophy and condemning the American who illegally hunted him down.
He posted an image of himself holding trophies with a caption “these are trophies” and a picture of Cecil with a caption “and this is not”.
Film star Jean Claude Van Damme said: “You all know how much I love animals because they are part of our planet . . . our home. Animals have souls and feelings just like us! I find hurting an animal or killing it for no reason a cowardly act and a major crime.
“Cecil the Lion was another victim of animal cruelty, and, I am so ashamed of people who commit such disgraceful acts.”
However many Zimbabweans were of the view that the killing was receiving too much publicity.
“It’s sad that the death of a lion is bringing more tears than that of a missing Zimbabwean called Itai Dzamara,” said Ashton Bumhira, a youth rights activist.
“It seems like international media found it easier to condemn a man who killed a lion than to condemn the missing of this human rights activist. I’m outraged. One white man kills a lion and there’s media saturation. Just did a quick Google search on the media coverage about this so-called lion….it’s on Reuters, New York Times, Telegraph, Washington Post etc, but I did the same for Itai Dzamara then I realised it’s all on NewsDay, Daily News etc. The question then honestly can an animal be accorded such levels of importance than a human being?”
Former Education minister David Coltart also stepped in on Twitter saying the coverage given on the Cecil case was ridiculous.
“As much as I sympathise with those upset by this incident, this is just ridiculous,” he said and made reference to Dzamara and stolen elections.
He was referring to a statement where someone had inferred that the Cecil story was Zimbabwe’s biggest news story since 2008 elections.
“Let Cecil the lion’s death shine light on Zimbabwe’s human rights abuses,” Coltart said.
Dzamara’s brother Partson also took to social media, pleading with people to also be united “like this” in trying to find his brother.
The United States Embassy in Harare issued a statement joining Zimbabweans and the world in mourning the death of Cecil.
“We join Zimbabweans and people around the world who are saddened by the death of Cecil the Lion. We believe a thorough investigation of this case is important to ensure that protected animals are safe, the rule of law is respected, and the principles of conservation are upheld by all,” the embassy said.