Corrupt Swapo government allowed the presence of poaching cartels – Venaani

Stefanus Nashama

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader, McHenry Venaani claims that pervasive corruption and graft in the Swapo-led government have allowed the presence of cartel rings in Namibia that are killing and poaching wildlife in the country, especially rhinos.

Venaani who leads the official opposition party, indicated that his party is disturbed by the number of reported poached rhinos in the country. He added that the situation does not seem to slow down as the number keeps increasing.

He ascribed the situation to conflicted officials in government who are also involved in the poaching syndicates.

The lawmaker is blaming the ruling Swapo Party’s administration for the pervasive corruption and graft which he claims has led to the presence of cartel rings, including Chinese nationals and senior law enforcement agents, operating within the country’s nature conservancies.

“It has been reported in numerous media outlets that from January 2024 to date, a total of 28 rhinos have been poached, which represents a number dangerously close to the total number recorded last year, which totalled 39,” he stressed.

Venaani’s call follows a report recently released by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, stating that there have been 28 cases of rhino poaching in the country since the beginning of this year, which is a great concern.

He expressed his worries about the small population of rhinos in Namibia, which includes 6,000 black rhinos and an unknown number of white rhinos, saying close to 300 rhinos have been poached in the past five years.

He also believes that the Ministry’s efforts to stop poaching have not been effective and that the government’s investment in anti-poaching measures has not yielded tangible results.

The Ministry last year established efforts to bolster the anti-poaching drive by procuring 13 horses at a reported cost of N$130,000.

However, Venaani said poaching and illegal hunting continue to proliferate.

He believes it cannot be the responsibility of the line Ministry alone to address these acts, as they are happening under their watch. He also called on President Nangolo Mbumba to intervene by summoning the line minister and explaining how all this was happening under his watch.

“The president must give a stern warning to the minister and set substantive actions in place,” he urged.

This week, the Ministry announced that 28 cases of rhino poaching have been recorded this year, with 19 rhinos killed in the Etosha National Park, and 10 carcasses were discovered during dehorning operations in March.

According to the Ministry’s Spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, the Ministry called for an urgent high-level meeting with security clusters to address the issue.

He said four white rhinos were poached on a private farm in the Otjozondjupa Region, bringing the total number of rhinos poached on private farms to five for the year.

“Three rhinos were poached in rhino custodianship farms, and one in the Kunene Region, bringing the total number of rhinos poached in the country to 28, of which 19 were black and nine white rhinos,” he said.

According to the Ministry, more than 600 rhinos were poached in the past ten years.

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