KENYA has its own position and we have our position on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and we will not blame them says Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the end of inaugural Africa’s Wildlife Economy Summit.
The summit held from 23rd to the 25th of June in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) was seeking to find ways of coming up with one voice for Africa in terms of sustainable utilisation of wildlife amid differences among CITES member states.
Such countries as Kenya and others are reportedly against sustainable utilisation and want a total ban in both utilisation and trade of endangered species such as elephants, rhinos and their products.
Kenya which burnt its stockpile of ivory a few years ago is advocating to have elephants moved from the current Appendix 2 (guided sustainable utilisation and trade) into the more draconian Appendix 1 (none utilisation and none trade).
However, counties in the Kavango- Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) such as Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia are against the idea of Appendix 1 and are in fact advocating for rights to trade sustainably.
Addressing the media at the end of the conference President Emmerson Mnangagwa said they will not blame Kenya for refusing to benefit from its God-given natural resources.
“Kenya is refusing to benefit from its natural resources given to them by God but we are saying we would want to benefit, whether you like it or not an elephant will one day die and the tasks will fall and when you see them you want to burn, we are saying we can’t burn them let us trade and keep better the ones which are alive this is our stance.
“We don’t blame Kenya for their stance it is how Kenya itself looks at the issue, this is a democratic process where we go into a debate and the best argument should take the day,” he said.
Zimbabwe has in excess of over 30 000 elephants a development which is making it expensive and a bit difficult to manage and President Mnangagwa said there is need to put a strong argument for them to be allowed to decongest the wildlife.
“It is necessary that we put a sound argument for instance Zimbabwe alone has in excess of 30 000 elephants, we have excess everywhere and we are saying some of our brother nations have exhausted their wildlife and we are willing to sell and in some cases to donate these wild animals to our sister countries so that they can also grow the population of their wildlife in those countries.
“We believe CITES should allow that for instance among the 5 countries (KAZA), Angola has a problem because of the war, there are a lot of landmines in that area and a lot of animals because of war and landmines have moved south so we are now cooperating with Angola to raise funds for demining that area and we will give Angola elephants, lions, giraffes and buffalos so that we decongest our own areas.
“I think this is a very humane approach to issues of wildlife in the KAZA Countries,” he said.