9 years for possessing pangolin

A 23-YEAR-OLD Harare man was yesterday slapped with an effective nine-year jail term for illegal possession of a pangolin.


Magistrate Tendai Mahwe said although Moses Gatsi was convicted on his own plea of guilty and being a first offender, there were no special circumstances to warrant him a lenient sentence.

Prosecutor Sebastian Mutizirwa presented that on Friday last week, police detectives received a tip-off that Gatsi intended to sell a pangolin.


Following up on the leads, police proceeded to Harare Main Post Office purporting to be buyers of the pangolin and linked up with Gatsi.

They drove to Highfield where Gatsi had hidden the pangolin, leading to his arrest after failing to produce a permit authorising him to keep the animal.

The pangolin, valued at $5 000, was taken to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority offices.

In mitigation, Gatsi said he was responsible for the welfare of his two younger siblings as his parents were deceased.

“In passing sentence, I took into account that the accused (Gatsi) is a first offender who pleaded guilty and thus showed contrition. However, the accused possessed a pangolin, which is a specially protected animal, without a licence,” Mahwe said.

“This is a serious offence which is now prevalent and deterrent sentences are called for if pangolins are not to face extinction.

“My hands are tied to the minimum mandatory sentence,” the magistrate said, before slapping Gatsi with the mandatory sentence.

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  1. vivian v siziba

    Does the statute permit the magistrate to impose such a long term jail term without an option of a fine ? I’m of the opinion that the sentence is too harsh and induces a sense of shock for a first time offender,

  2. Judicial circus. Animals more important than human beings

  3. Woman who slashes her 8 year old niece with a razor blade on her buttocks gets 2 years, six months suspended. Unlicenced Dudu Manhenga runs over and kills a cyclist and gets 6 month jail sentence. Kereke is found innocent of rape charges even before going for trial. This is the real face of justice in Zim.

  4. the sentence is unfair because he did not kill the animal it was found alive, and that he was a young first offender, he is not from the group of genuine poachers who exchange gun fire with authorities he was supposed to be given an option of a fine, this is not an elephant or rhino

  5. 9 years is the minimum sentence given by the statute. He can’t get less

  6. high time such statutes are reviewed. too harsh a judgement! in a country with such a high unemployment rate, i would think feeding yourself is better than protecting this so called endangered life…after all he did not killed it nix…..

  7. Hapana nyaya.munhu arikuzama kuraramawo hake munyika isina mabasa handit varikutonga makavharisa ma kambani,saka munhu odii.9years kupenga chaiko.6months dzakawandisa.pangolin haisi taxpayer’s money.wat abt mbavha dzirikuba taxpayer money,nothng happens 2 them.

  8. Something is not right with our legal system, our courts and the people that we trust to administer justice. 9 years for keeping a pangolin for sure! For killing Cecil the lion no-one got arrested. Who cares really if Pangolins become extinct? What role do they paly? I have never seen. one in my life

  9. This is just madness, nine years for possesing a lousy pangolin! Rapists and other hoodlums are getting far much less sentences and some even go scot free. This sentence should be reviewed as a matter of urgence before we become a laughing stock to the whole world!

  10. This Pangolin nonsense should stop. Various individuals a fleecing state coffers bleeding the economy at the expense of the majority whilst victims of the collapsed economy are thrown into the dugeons of he’ll for trying to just get at least something.

  11. nxa 9 years for being found in possession of pangolin? who the hell cares about it going extinct?muchafunga kuti tourists are still interested nekuuya kuzoona wildlife futi, ichapedzisira butcheries all over from kwachikwanha kusvika kumastones inenge yazara nyama yenhoro,zvipembere etc beef industry makauraya. as things get worse when poaching bcomes standard. shuwa mapurisa kuwaster maresources kutracker munhu back and forth kusvika kuhighfields to get a mere pangolin, yet drugs dealers and big time criminals are operating right under their noses pacharge office! infact the whole cbd!! shame to the justice sytem.

  12. Mwari ngavaite nyasha

  13. The blame should not be on the courts, but Parliament that makes such draconian laws stipulating 9 years minimum improsonment for such minor offences. With the likes of Chinoz in the august house, what better can we expect?

  14. What no one seems to be seeing here is the bigger picture. Which is revenue coming into the country. Point by point: (1) sport hunting brings in an estimated $20 million a year into Zimbabwe. (2) Because of what was seen to be lax law enforcement, the US government has banned the importation of Zimbabwean ivory and lion trophies from Zimbabwe, so a lot of the hunters are going to Mozambique or Tanzania or South Africa to spend their money. (3) Zimbabwe is trying very hard to demonstrate that it is serious about this, and guys like Gatis are collateral damage.

    The pangolin is the world’s most heavily trafficked animal, and by handing down serious sentences, the Zimbabwe government is trying to get the bans lifted and a lot more hunters coming back in and spending their money here instead of elsewhere. So guys like Gatsi are in fact stealing from the country.

    1. repeat this to yourself, 9 YEARS, not weeks, not months, 9 YEARS!!

  15. iii amana 9 years for a pangolin???? which is still very much alive and well fed by the looks of things as it was being fattened for the market.

    maybe some community service would have survived, this was a victimless crime and moreover you have stolen the live of this youngman who was just entering his prime.

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