Open Letter to President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe

May 16, 2019 | Commentary

By Nomusa Dube

Dear Honourable President,

In the first instance, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work. I see you each day doing all that you can to portray Zimbabwe in a positive light.

I take every opportunity to tell the World about Zimbabwe and all her treasures for we are blessed with gifts from Nature, a remarkable Heritage. Yet, I am troubled about the current situation that we have in our Country with the exports of Elephants, Lions and wildlife for Chinese & UAE Zoos.

Although we could debate on emotional issues and animal rights, we cannot avoid the facts. It is well documented that separating a calf from female elephants is tragically cruel. These animals have strong family bonds and mourn the loss of their families. The calf that is removed will show results of abnormal development or, even worse, death. For the wild herds left behind there is a lot of unrest, reckless behaviour bringing wildlife conflict in communities and endangering visitors. To know they have been taken from their families so they can live a life in concrete cages or dancing in circuses in China for the rest of their lives is such an inhumane practise and so sad. This is how the World sees our Elephants in tragic circumstances in Chinese Zoos.

We are at the summit of change and the world is watching us.  We have to look to the future and what this is doing to our conservation and tourism image. Seeing the wildlife as something which can be uplifted and sold like a ripe fruit off a tree into a terrifying chasm. In the chasm lies an insatiable demand for all wildlife and her products. So huge is this demand that we could sell or kill every single living thing in Zimbabwe, it would be like one drop of water going into an ocean.

In that chasm also lies the complete destruction of the future of our tourism and conservation industry. The end of our World Heritage Sites, the end of all that is great about Zimbabwe. In that chasm also lies the end of all potential research or finding the answers to questions which can be sought only where wild spaces and their occupants remain intact. This way our heritage will be gone in five years instead of using our heritage to build a future in Tourism for the next ten generations. This is the chasm in front of our Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality. The latter has chosen to step towards the chasm seeking only to satisfy what she sees as solutions without discussion or transparency our heritage is traded.  Our Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality is aware that the market has become more competitive as travellers choose destinations where ethical wildlife management is practised. There are many solutions, and these can be found only with dialogue and education. Investment will be missed with challenges.

We could argue in a political debate, but we won’t. We will look at the future whether we like it or not this issue has moved us into the world spotlight again for the wrong reasons. This global outcry will bring a reputation that will be handed down from your generation to mine and we will have to live with it for a long time.

Honourable President what is the solution?  I do not have the answers, but I do know that we have to do what is right for our wonderful country. I would respectfully ask you to set an example that such cruel abuse of wildlife is not acceptable and stop the trade. You are in a perfect international sphere to send out a strong socially responsible message of accountability and transparency. “Zimbabwe is Open for Conservation and Preservation of my and the future generations Heritage”

Zimbabwe’s Elephants are the jewels in her crown, do not sell them.

​Yours Respectively,

Nomusa Dube

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