BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
MATABELELAND communities are pushing for further decentralisation of the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) to the community level to ensure maximum benefit is derived from their natural resources.
Consultations are underway to nudge government to revamp the Campfire model to create a more viable version that ensures sustainability and channels more benefits to the communities.
The new concept, if it succeeds, advocates that all funds accrued from natural resources must be channelled into community accounts.
“The outcomes of the already conducted consultations in Tsholotsho and Hwange reveal that communities want the Campfire programme to be devolved to community level,” a council official who attended the consultations said.
“However, rural district councils (RDCs) are against that idea because the Campfire programme is regarded as a cash cow for them.
“The sad thing is that the management of the Campfire programme was characterised by lack of transparency and accountability in the process.”
Binga ward 4 councillor Elmon Mudenda, who attended the consultations, said communities wanted the programme to be decentralised.
“The document is supposed to capacitate the community. The communities were not benefiting from the programme, hence there was destruction of the conservation area.
“Communities want to pay the RDCs and do their own memorandum of understanding with organisations operating in their area so that they can respect the communities,” Mudenda said.
Former Midlands provincial chief lands officer Joseph Shoko, who is leading the consultative meetings, had promised to respond to questions sent to him but failed to do so up to the time of going to print.
The Campfire is a government project established in 1988 to ensure that communities derive maximum benefit from local resources like wildlife.
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