Kariba youths in court over causing noise to elephants. Irvin Marosa (22), Brian Nariti (23) and Millward Linje (20) are being charged with contravening section 8 (b) as read with section 111 (d) of the Parks and Wildlife General Regulation SI 362/1990 which articulates issues of unlawful noise-causing or behaving in a manner that disturbs wildlife or humans.
Wednesday the 9th of October at exactly 10:37 am, three youngsters from Mahombekombe’s ward 6 stood before Kariba magistrate, Mr Toendepi Zhou for allegedly causing noise to a herd of elephants which roamed Blantyre residential area.
The Public Prosecutor, Mr Philip Urayai alleged that on the 23rd of last September, the trio stoned a herd of elephants which roamed residential areas of Mahombekombe. Mr Tinei Mudimu and Mr Tichaona Chiworera who are the Zimparks Wildlife officers were driven around Mahombekombe area by an unnamed white guy in a land-rover type of a vehicle the same day elephants were stoned.
Getting into the dock the young men denied the allegations as outlined leading the court to set the case to be heard on Tuesday the 15th of October.
After the court, Mr Simbarashe Lawrence Manyumwa, a lawyer and an MDC councillor for ward 8 who is offering his philanthropy to represent the trio addressed more than two dozen people who had thronged the court to hear the case. “I don’t see an issue here! But we need time to prepare our defence because ZimParks is hiding behind a finger by claiming that area where Tony Waite had established a nutrition garden saying it doesn’t belong to the Municipality of Kariba but to them hence it is a game corridor!”
One community member alleges that Mr Tichaona Chiworera and Mr Tinei Mudimu were very anxious by the way the authority was dealing with the issue. “I see these officials wanting to embarrass themselves by tarnishing their image because the way they arrested these youngsters was neither proper nor ethical. They lacked tact in the execution of their trap,” A legion of questions being raised by the community members stretch from ‘Why arresting instead of educating?’, why being supported by the whites when it is in favour of animals but if people are the victims the whites become dead silent?’ Why targeting people whilst not driving animals out for the safety of people?’ Why not engaging people and reach consensus?’
People from the community who included residents’ associations’ leadership, churches, and families of the accused, friends and interested parties have promised to turn the courtyard ‘into a hive of activity’ on the real court day. Accusations also stand that Mr Tinei Mudimu arrested the guys to catapult himself to a higher rank as there is a vacant post whilst some bemoan the departure of Mr Chinembiri who used to handle such situations respectfully and professionally. This is a test case where a lot of interest from ordinary members has been shown. A passerby as people were leaving the court yard shouted on; “Ko nzou yacho ichauya here kudare kuti ionekwe payakatemwa?”
The arrested guys lament over Zimparks’ brutality during the process of arrest. “They refused me to pick my Holy Bible which dropped off as they dragged me. The wildlife officer held me by the belt with another pulling me towards their vehicle, an act which baffled and embarrassed me!” Millward narrated the sad predicament he encountered on the evening of his arrest whilst he was on his way for church prayers. He has actually lost his Bible as well as a rafter that day.
Irvin has also complained about the way he was chained. “It was as if I had committed treason. Such tight chaining was meant to break my wrists and pleading with the officers to loosen me was like requesting further barbarism on me.” he cried. The trio was separately picked from their homes which were far away from the alleged places where the elephants were being stoned and had to spent a night at Kariba Police station holding cells.
Mr Rhodrect Mugwanhira, ward 6 councillors who also attended the court had tried to engage Zimparks last Saturday by organising a meeting with residents for learning and discussions on human-wildlife conflict issues in the area. Nevertheless, his efforts ended up into vanity regardless of having travelled to Peter’s point camp for all arrangements, telephonic conversations with the area manager Mr Nkosi who has this week been moved out of Kariba, Zimparks did not show up.
Source – Bulawayo 24 News
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