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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Department of National Parks and wildlife officers accused of harassing starving villagers

Rural News Department of National Parks and wildlife officers accused of harassing starving villagers

FDD Chairperson for Labour Yotam Mtayachalo paid a visit to Chama North Constituencies and found that people are facing acute food shortages.

According to Mr Mtayachalo, people in Mwalala ward in Chama North Constituency to be specific Katangalika village to assess the hunger situation, unless the government acts expeditiously and come to their aid, people may die of starvation because the majority are depending on mangos for survival.

Mr Mtayachalo said the hunger situation may get worse in the coming few months if nothing is done urgently to address the situation in light of the rain season which is just around the corner as many areas are inaccessible during this period of the year.

Further, Mr Mtayachalo said the people complained bitterly against Department of National Parks and wildlife officers who they accuse of bursting into their homes usually at or before dawn in search for game meat and illegal guns and wantonly arresting them without allowing them to dress properly.

He said in the process they are beaten on mere suspicions and it is also alleged that some overzealous Officers are accused of planting evidence at the homes of some suspects.

Mr Mtayachalo said this conduct which is becoming widespread can no longer be tolerated and it calls for an immediate inquiry by the government so that once it is proven to be true, culprits must be brought to book because it is not only unacceptable and unprofessional but also a gross violation of human rights.

He said this has led to many people in Chama District being remanded and languishing in prison in Lundazi district for so many months or years without appearing in court on time in accordance with the law after being denied bond. Contributing to this is the fact that Chama district has no resident magistrate.

Mr Mtayachalo said he has brought these issues to the attention of Chama District Commissioner Leonard Ngoma who is working tirelessly and he has promised to address these issues.

He has further appealed to the government to consider increasing food allocation countrywide to hunger stricken population because the 12.5kg bag of mealie meal given to affected families is not enough to sustain them going by the African family step up.

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  1. Some Zambians are very dull. Surely if they violate laws in hunting game, they should face consequences.

    No one will be jailed for hunting mice or rabbits. Even impala you can hunt as long as you are not selling.

    If these villagers have the strength to hunt game, they should have the strength to keep chickens, goats and whatever they can slaughter.

    • It doesn’t mean that this allows them to “shop” in the game reserves! Chama has had this problem for years. I remember in 1985 this problem was there (HUNGER DUE TO DROUGHT) and World Food Programme was giving them food. This was long before CHILDISH was born.

  2. Grossly unfair to harass & criminalise villagers for wanting a bit of venison protein. Issue them with licences to hunt unendangered deer – but control hunting seasons and areas they might hunt in. Surely, it’s not right that the only people who might eat venison in Zambia at present are Lodge owners. Of course, poaching is wrong as it tends to be indiscriminate killing of animals without regard to breeding seasons. But I think the poaching mentality comes from a feeling of being excluded and deprived of hunting rights; something the villagers had always enjoyed before British rule took over…and, I believe, at that point, despite villagers regularly eating venison, the Savannah grasslands were teaming with vast herds of animals – which would suggest that they practiced controlled…

  3. Unless things have changed, people living in or near game parks also live close to Game Management Areas where hunting for game meat is allowed after sunrise and closes at sunset. Those with registered guns are allowed more animals than they can ever kill for food per year. Think of 20 buffaloes, wildebeest or more than a 100 small animals such as Pukus, Kudus, deers, antelopes, impalas per year. If villagers are harassed it means they do not have licences and they are poaching, killing animals that are not allowed to be killed for meat. They may also be hunting in the game parks at prohibited times of the day. That beating and harsh treatment has been the practice for years and is meant as a serious deterrent to poaching.

  4. Sometimes the behavior of these officers is worse than that of animals. At one village they beat and undressed a woman for cooking meat which was later discovered to be goat meat. Men had deserted the village because of the humiliation they suffered at the hands of game rangers. I’m surprised that these things are still happening. Big poachers capture live animals to their private ranches

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