Elephant poisoning: Zanu (PF) officials face probe

Zanu (PF) has pledged to launch an investigation after its own senior members were implicated in the deaths of nearly 100 elephants.

Elephants have been poisoned with cyanide at Hwange National Park.
Elephants have been poisoned with cyanide at Hwange National Park.

The elephants were poisoned with cyanide poisoning at Hwange National Park last month. Zimbabwe declared the death of the elephants an ecological disaster.

The probe pledge followed concerns from conservationists that some government officials and politically connected individuals were behind the poaching syndicates. As a result, these gangs were untouchable while ordinary villagers used as a front were the ones who suffered.

Three villagers, part of the poaching syndicate, had been jailed for the crimes, despite reports indicating a sophisticated ring involving senior state officials and politicians in the scam. These officials argued that the state would need about $40m to get to the bottom of the matter.

But Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has vowed to forge ahead regardless. His party colleague Rugare Gumbo said that his party would make efforts to flush out culprits, if any, involved in poaching.

“The President’s call for zero tolerance against corruption and abuse of public office stands and I can assure you that investigations into the allegations of involvement of government officials will be made and that is what zero tolerance to corruption means,” said Gumbo.

“The culprits will be brought to book. What is important is to be able to gather the facts first before we can proceed. Comrade Kasukuwere has acquitted himself very well and when the results come out, then we will know who was responsible.”

Transparency International Zimbabwe board chair Loughty Dube said: “We condemn any acts of corruption whether they are done by the government, individuals or the private sector. Investigations should be done before we say that the government officials were involved.”

A lobby group, Coalition Against Corruption, said government should get to the bottom of the matter if its pledges to fight corruption meant anything.

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