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    Friday, 13 May 2016

    Chiredzi RDC short-changing villagers on Campfire – Minister told


    – Traditional leaders in Chiredzi are of the view that their rural district council is short-changing them on proceeds from  the Community Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) a complaint they have since lodged with the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change, Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri during her tour of the area a few weeks ago.
    The Minister held a stakeholders meeting at Gonarezhou National Park also attended by traditional leaders.
    Speaking during the meeting Chief Sengwe said despite losing their cattle to wild animals in communities surrounding Gonarezhou National Park people in his area have no benefit from the campfire projects which they are undertaking together with council. He said council is neglecting giving communities a fair share while the projects are supposed to benefit communities.
    "We want to take this opportunity as community leaders to let the minister know that as communities who live around this animal sanctuary, Gonarezhou, we are not fully benefiting from campfire projects. We have nothing to show despite hunting of trophies being done regularly within our campfire concessions. Council should pay what is due to us so that we can repair roads, build schools and undertake other developmental projects within our areas" said Chief Sengwe.
    Minister Muchinguri fumed and urged Chiredzi Rural District Council to work together with communities in a good manner. She said it was bad and what is being done by council should stop immediately.
    However, Chief Executive Officer of Chiredzi RDC Isaac Matsilele said it was not true that council is not giving communities their dues but said the cake is small and every partner is benefitting in a small way. He said his council is the only one which has a system which directly pays communities on campfire and his council does not handle funds meant for communities. He also added that there is need to have a bigger programme in which all  traditional leaders will benefit from all those who are into wildlife management since campfire benefits those who live near the parks.
    "As council we have nine concessions under campfire and this project benefit communities directly affected by wildlife not every community. I was not at the Gonarezhou meeting but the problem is that the size of the cake is too small for all of us to benefit. Parks and Wildlife reduced this size of the cake when they awarded us 17 elephants other than the usual 33. Communities are supposed to get 55percent according to campfire principles and there are quite a number of communities who benefitted from the projects. Traditional leaders should benefit more but it should be done at a higher level where all operators not those in campfire only should contribute something to the traditional leaders" said Matsilele. local news

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