A TSHOLOTSHO human rights activist has called for enabling legislation that will force the remittance of 80% of all proceeds from wildlife and natural resources to the local community to help uplift their standard of living.
Moses Ncube, the Zimbabwe Human Rights (ZimRights) Matabeleland North provincial chairperson, said it was saddening that Tsholotsho villagers were starving and suffering yet their standard of living could be improved if the natural resources in their area could be used to their benefit.
Ncube, also the former ward chairperson of the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indiginenous Resources (Campfire) in Tsholotsho, said the lives of villagers could only be improved if 80% of Campfire proceeds were channelled towards their wellbeing.
Campfire is a programme piloted in the early 1980s aimed at developing communities using their resources.
Campfire generates the bulk of its revenue from trophy hunting, sales of live animals, tourism and harvesting of natural resources.
Communities get 60%, a figure that Ncube said was not adequate.
“It’s a sad reality. Villagers remain poor yet their life could have been far better if they were enjoying the Campfire benefits,” Ncube said.
“As it is, they have little to show for their wildlife and natural resources there.
“This can only change if they got 80% from Campfire,” he said.
Ncube said Tsholotsho villagers wanted more than half of the $8 of the development levies that each homestead pays to the local authority to benefit them.
“We want more than half of that development levy to be ploughed back to the communities. That is the only way we can develop the communities and the lives of villagers,” he added.