The reason for ZAWA's woes, she says, is that when ZAWA was first created in 1998 (17 years ago), the European Union had committed to providing at least $20 million US per year to fund ZAWA's operations, including a capitalization plan for field equipment, vehicles, aircraft, firearms and building of staff housing. But when Zambia disagreed with some conditions attached to the aid, the funding fell through, leaving ZAWA with no start-up capital and the resulting accumulation of debt. She says that the continuing situation is such that even if the government helped ZAWA clear its books it would only fall right back into a debt trap. According to her, ZAWA had not paid communities their share of the wildlife revenue and had lost the confidence of key partners in wildlife management, specifically the chiefs and local communities. The only acceptable option, she says, is to revert wildlife management to the government.
So what does this mean for those pending allocations? Well, I hear that about half of the announced allocation winners have signed contracts and will be operating this season. However, ZAWA had not released the names of those companies when I........(continued)