The Zimbabwe National Army is embroiled in a dispute over translocation of game animals from Sussexdale Farm in Domboshava to Sadle Game Farm owned by their commander, Lieutenant General Philip Valerio Sibanda.
The army is trying to move 63 game animals from the farm formerly owned by Geoffrey Kelly Mckinnon, and Markham Paul Mckinnon, who were evicted from the farm on August 30 to pave way for three beneficiaries, who include Cythia Maadza, a war veteran, who is a security officer at the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
Maadza is, however, resisting the move to transfer the game animals to Sibanda, saying she is entitled to the beasts, as she is now the owner of the property.
The war veteran holds an offer letter to the property.
Army commander, Artillery Brigade, Brigadier General, Stanley Mangena, in a letter dated November 16, 2016 addressed to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, seeking permission to move the animals said the Mckinnons wanted the animals moved to Sibanda’s farm.
“The authority to take possession and custody of the game animals was given to ZNA by Geoffrey Kelly Mckinnon and Markham Paul Mckinnon, through their legal representative,” the letter reads.
“The organisation, having been duly authorised to take safe custody of the game, in turn identified the Commander of the Army’s farm, as the suitable sanctuary for the animals comprising 33 impala, 18 wildebeest, six eland, six kudu and three zebra, which require capture and translocation from and to the aforesaid farms as a matter of urgency by employing your expertise.”
The army argues that if the animals are not moved, they will fall victim to poaching and human pollution caused by illegal gold panning.
“The intended programme is meant to reduce the effects of poaching, limited grazing pastures and water habitat modifications caused by increasing human population engaging in illegal gold panning,” the army said.
The army demanded written questions, but Parks and Wildlife Authority spokesperson, Caroline Washayamoyo said: “According to the Parks and Wildlife Act, a legal occupier of any land has appropriate authority status that gives him/her user rights over wildlife on land in question.
“On the other hand the appropriate authority takes the responsibility to look after the wildlife. There is no private ownership of free ranging wildlife in Zimbabwe.”
Armed military men last month allegedly stormed Maadza’s farm and looted property, including tractors in defiance of a court order barring them from doing so.
They reportedly told lawyer, Taona Sibanda that they would not be guided by a court order, but instructions from “above”, before threatening to behead the lawyer, who was in the company of the deputy sherriff, to stop the looting. The High Court has ordered the return of all the looted property.
Maadza is now accusing the army of being fronts for the white men, whom they claim owns the animals, yet he the farm was compulsorily acquired by the government and allocated to her.