MINISTER of Tourism and Arts Minister Ronald Chitotela has said Government is committed to releasing and paying the ZMK19.8 million owed to communities in hunting area.
Speaking at the Ministry Headquarters during a meeting about community funds from hunting this afternoon with six chiefs led by Senior Chief Luembe, the Minister said true wildlife conservation for tourism development can only be achieved with community involvement.
He said Government places communities as anchors of sustainable wildlife conservation even though animals may be state property, but that communities led by the chiefs live and protect the animals from threats like poaching.
Hon. Chitotela said the communities take care of the animals and hence their role cannot be overemphasised.
And Senior Chief Luembe said traditional leaders play a greater role including managing encroachments, poaching and fishing rights.
He said people don’t want to move from fishing camps even during fish ban and tend to resort to poaching and it’s the chiefs that have to push to control such situations.
Meanwhile Chieftainess Msoro said community scouts have shown commitment by being patient by waiting for 19 months or more without pay and continuing with the conservation duties.
The traditional leader said with good motivation the scouts are able to do more and contribute to Government revenue through tourism earnings and development.
She said disadvantaging areas like Msoro where she is, would disadvantage the entire South Luangwa National Park.
Senior Chief Luembe, Chieftainess Muwezwa, Chieftainess Chiyawa, Chieftainess Mpasha, Chief Mphuka and Chieftainess Msoro attended the meeting.
This is contained in a statement issued by Ministry of Tourism and Arts Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe – Zacks.