THE invasion of the Denlynian game reserve in Beitbridge is a mockery of the government’s well-publicised initiatives to revive tourism battered by the infamous farm invasions that began in year 2000.
Several government departments, including the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and the Tourism minister Walter Mzembi have been working overtime trying to rebrand Zimbabwe.
The government has also been clear that farm invasions no longer have a place because enabling legislation has been put in place for it to compulsorily acquire any land it needs.
Therefore, the reported violence on Polish tourists who were at Denlynian reserve when a group of suspected Zanu PF supporters and war veterans invaded the famed “paradise” should come as a source of concern for the government.
There are reports that the invaders, led by well-known people in Beitbridge who boast connections at high places in the government, stormed the game farm at night and terrorised tourists and harassed staff. They also allegedly turned the lodge upside down and trashed equipment used by the professional hunters, before stealing tonnes of frozen meat.
There are pictures of the invaders leaving the farm with poached impala. It is worth pointing out that this is not the first time the game sanctuary has been invaded by the Zanu PF sympathisers.
Denlynian fell victim to the land grab craze in 2000, but the settlers were evicted with the help of the police.
The owners say this time around the police have been reluctant to eject the settlers as they give lame excuses for not acting on court orders.
The government is fond of blaming all the problems besetting the country on sanctions, including the poor tourist arrivals, but it does not take a rocket scientist to tell that our problems have their genesis on what is happening at that Beitbridge game farm right now.
Mzembi needs to come out clearly against those invaders if he wants to be taken seriously.
The same goes for Environment minister Saviour Kasuwere who is currently battling the worst case of poaching at the Hwange National Park.
The Beitbridge invaders are not very different from the criminals responsible for the Hwange disaster and the full wrath of the law has to visit them for the sake of sanity in our economy.