Film exposes Zanu PF bigwigs? ??(Zimbabwe)


The Southern Eye

Date Published

A United States-based elephant conservation group has released a revealing documentary that exposes alleged high-level involvement of Zanu PF bigwigs in poaching of elephants and rhinos at the Hwange National Park.

According to a statement on its website, a crew from the US-based production house When-Giants-Fall (WGF) spent six weeks underground in Zimbabwe last year.

They gathered information on the poaching scourge from safari operators, conservationists and investigative journalists specialising in poaching.

The investigative unit of the US-production house includes renowned Bulawayo-based conservation journalist Oscar Nkala.

Nkala has in the past conducted extensive research into poaching around the country in operations which exposed some alleged high-level criminal elements, including top governmemt and Zanu PF officials.

According to film director Leslie Grifith, the documentary examines and exposes the unseen faces of the elephant poaching crisis in Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

Zimbabwe and Tanzania were placed on a list of prohibited trophy hunting destinations for US nationals by the US Fisheries and Wildlife Services in May last year because of alleged high-level poaching.

The countries were punished for the failure of governments to take clear steps to end the crisis, which has seen the killing of thousands of elephants with massive tonnes of ivory which go to the Chinese market.

Snippets of the film in which Nkala castigates government officials and the politically connected for looting the country’s heritage while the public looks on with indifference have gone viral on Vimeo, Facebook and YouTube.

The WGF film was the “official selection” of the US-based Ashland Fim Festival 2015 which ran from April 10 to April 13.

It came out on the top list as billed and has since gained massive support from a global audience which has expressed disgust at the lack of political will to tackle the poaching crisis in Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

Propelled by the success at the Ashaland Film Festival, the film has been taken on a nationwide tour of the US pending the world premier which will be used to bring all the crew members to celebrate its success at a venue which is yet to be decided.

In a brief commentary on the film, the African Wildlife Trust said the WGF crew showed extreme motivation to the cause of saving elephants because it recognises the threat posed by poachers.

“The threat of elephant extinction haunts and motivates Leslie and her team in their frenetic push to complete this important film, When Giants Fall, and release it to the world to help make the killing stop,” the group said in a commentary published on its website.

In 2013, over a 100 elephants were killed through cyanide poising at Hwange National Park by poachers.

A number of villagers were arrested for poaching, but activists argued that the real culprits behind the crime were not held accountable because of their connections.