Now Daily Editorial
The recent murder of Italian safari operator Claudio Chiarelli and his son Massimiliano by a parks ranger in Matusaona national park strengthens the argument that the shoot to kill policy introduced by environment minister Oppah Muchinguri is wrong.
The constitution of Zimbabwe states in section 48 that, “Every person has a right to life”. It was therefore with a sense of shock that Zimbabweans listened to Muchinguri pontificating in parliament that her ministry had adopted a “shoot to kill” strategy in relation to illegal hunters generally referred to as ‘poachers’. None of our dead wood MPs flinched when Muchinguri told them that rangers had murdered in cold blood more than 50 poachers. The reason is that the murdered people are locals, who were destined to be exterminated by this regime through other means, including starvation, deprivation and disease.
The sudden outcry over Chiarelli is because he was a foreigner and when our so-called government looks at foreigners, they do not see their humanity, only dollar signs printed on their foreheads. And of course because Chiarelli was a European, Muchinguri and other members of Robert Mugabe’s looting party were alarmed that this could lead to more ‘sanctions’ and less shopping trips in the style capitals of the world. So, yes, our government pretended to care about Chiarelli and investigation was promised the angry diplomats which, naturally, will lead nowhere. At least, it will not lead to the arrest and incarceration of the instigator of the Chiarelli murder, who is Muchinguri.
When Muchinguri invited the army and police through the Joint Operations Command to bolster the efforts of her disintegrating parks department, she should have been aware of the consequences. Being a trained military person herself, she should have known that Zimbabwean soldiers don’t undertake an operation for anything but to “kill, to steal and to destroy”. That is our experience. The minister must bear responsibility for the killings of innocent people like Chiarelli, who are generally branded ‘poachers’. Their blood is on her hands. We demand an international enquiry into this bloody episode, where blame will be assigned and the chief perpetrator of the Chiarelli murder sent to jail.
The reason why we have a parks department which is separate from the army is that parks rangers are trained in law enforcement and not murder. We demand that the army and police be immediately withdrawn from anti-poaching patrols. Muchinguri’s plans to employ drones to kill poachers without trial must also be rejected. Every Zimbabwean and every visitor has a right to a trial before they are punished by the state in whatever way.
Finally, Muchinguri must be fired as environment minister. She is hopelessly corrupt and inept. The only reason she occupies a ministerial post is that she is Mugabe’s girlfriend. We cannot run a government like this. It must also be remembered that it was under her watch that Cecil, the world’s most famous and best-loved lion was brutally killed.
© Now Media 2016. All Rights Reserved.