MDC-T has claimed poaching syndicates behind the mass killing of elephants at Hwange National Park are linked to Zanu PF and that villagers arrested so far in connection with the crime were small players.
At least 100 elephants have been killed at the reserve in the past few months by poachers who poison watering holes with cyanide.
Four poachers have been sentenced to at least 15 years each for their role in the crime, but MDC-T shadow secretary for Environment, Tourism and Natural Resources, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, said the real people behind the poaching had not been brought to justice.
“It is alarming that the poachers are alleged to be connected to well known senior government, Zanu PF, the Zimbabwe Wildlife Management Authority officials and police officers,” Mahlangu said in a statement.
“While authorities have left no stone unturned in arresting villagers, they have cast a blind eye on the major players connected to the government that are involved in this international syndicate of illegal trade in ivory.”
He said the MDC-T was convinced that the few poachers that have been arrested were “junior players while the key players who are well connected in the murky Zanu PF circles are being left to continue with high scale poaching activities”.
“Those that have been arrested were paid as little as $500 by the well linked Zanu PF syndicates to poison the water wells with the cyanide chemicals,” Mahlangu alleged.
He urged the Environment, Water and Climate ministry and police to be transparent in their fight against poaching.
“Police should walk their talk on fighting any form of corruption and reign in officials who are causing massive ecological disaster by killing elephants for their tusks,” Mahlangu said.
“The poaching in Hwange should be stopped immediately in order to secure our natural resources for future generations and all perpetrators should be brought to book without fear or favour.
“There should be no sacred cows.”
Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere dismissed the claims yesterday.
“Zanu PF people cannot kill elephants,” he said. “It is poachers who are behind this. These are thugs.”