RESIDENTS of Musungwa and Shezongo communities in Itezhi tezhi district in Southern Province have stood up against Luansemfwa Safaris demanding its immediate exit from Nkala Game Management Area (GMA).
Scores of residents took to the streets in a peaceful march to signal a red card for the investor they say has ignored its contractual obligations and outstayed it’s welcome in the area.
Leading the procession, Chief Shengo’s representative Mubita Kaongolo told journalists that the community was displeased with the Ministry of Tourism and Arts’ lack of action over this matter.
“Luansemfwa Safaris signed a contract in 2015 after being evaluated as the best bidder for Nkala GMA. However, we were notified of Luansemfwa’s termination of the contract in March 2020. The ministry went on to advertise the area and a new operator was selected,” he said.
“However, since terminating its contract in 2020, Luansemfwa has refused to leave the area despite numerous reminders for them to leave the area. they have for the past two years been conducting business illegally in the GMA at the community’s expense,” Kaongolo explained.
He said the two community resources boards for Musungwa and Shezongo have continiously tried to engage the department of National Parks and Wildlife and the ministry of tourism and arts but to no avail.
“We have written letters to the director in Chilanga and the minister over this matter. We travelled countless times to Lusaka to seek intervention from government but all we got is silence, not even a response to our concerns,” Kaongolo complained.
“We to appeal to the president through your various radios, television stations and social media platforms to come to our aid,” he pleaded.
Kaongolo said the investor had not paid its staff since 2020 and as a result people had resorted to poaching the animals which are supposed to be protected.
“Our people are insulting us everyday. they accuse us of being corrupt and being insensitive to their plight. we ask that you wipe this shame from our faces, we ask that you come to the aid of our employees…..we demand the immediate eviction of luansefwa from the GMA”.
He said the community would no longer entertain “white supremancy behaviour in our land”.
He pointed out that President Hakainde Hichilema had continiously reminded everyone on the need to respect the law but Luansemfwa on the other hand seemed to operate outside the laws of the land.
“We would like to urge the relevant authorities being the department of national parks and wildlife and the ministry of tourism and arts to please exercise professionalism and transparency on this matter. We, further urge them on the need to give feedback when a concern is raised. We should not be treated as stakeholders only when it suits them,” he said.
Kaongolo pointed out that Nkala belonged to the community and government were partners in its management.
Kalemba April 5, 2022