“It’s Extremely Wrong for the Western Countries to Dictate to our Governments how to Trade in Ivory and Rhino Horn.”

African countries should start ignoring the wildlife concerns of Western democracies given the crumbling credibility and legal problems so many of their leaders face, argues an American public policy consultant.

In an interview this week, U.S.A.-based public policy specialist and author of the book, Lobbycratic Governance, Godfrey Harris asked why Africans give credence to advice from Western politicians and senior bureaucrats who themselves are drowning in investigations for wrongdoing.

The list of Western leaders that lecture African leaders on good governance yet are themselves in serious or potential legal jeopardy includes Donald Trump, Joe Biden (for his son Hunter’s activities), Congressman George Santos, former Scotland first minister Nicola Sturgeon; Nicolas Sarkozy in France; and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel (Israelis think of themselves as Westerners and are included in Western football competitions).

“What kind of moral compass can they offer Africa?” asked Harris.

Some of these leaders claim their troubles are politically motivated rather than based on their moral laxities.

“Our concern is not for the personal jeopardy of some of the West’s best-known leaders, but for the ongoing stability of their countries,” said Harris.

“Their democracies are fraying as they question election results, sponsor vindictive laws, and watch a vast number of their citizens turn to a dozen other concerns rather than governance.

Throwing down the gauntlet, Harris asked, “Where is the next Nelson Mandela among African leaders?”

He continued: “Who in Southern Africa can stand up to the corrupt Western leaders to say we don’t need you, we don’t want your ideas, we can take care of our animals, and we know how to use the benefits they will provide.”

Harris said, “the Nelson Mandelas” are out there.

“I have read their writings and heard their speeches. They have the courage, the brains, and the political smarts to succeed,” Harris said.

“Why are the entrenched political parties stopping these outsiders from the chance to make a difference?

“Could it be that the corruption of the West is also the problem preventing Southern African progress?”

“Given these conditions, why on earth would anyone in Southern Africa think that the dictates of the West on subjects such as wildlife are worth listening to or following?”

That is why there is growing support for African leaders to “just say no” to any current or future ban on trade in wildlife products such as ivory and rhino horn.

It is high time that African leaders start making use of all of their available opportunities to unlock the continent’s wealth through legal and sustainable trade in its most valuable resources, writes Emmanuel Koro, an environment writer based in Johannesburg.

Animal rights NGOs that Western leaders listen to because of the money they can spend to support projects they favour are part of a web of corruption seeping into Africa.

These NGOs “feed” Western societies with false information and malicious propaganda about wildlife conservation or lack of it in Africa.

They claim elephants and other iconic species in Africa are endangered.

Of course, this is not true, but these corrupt NGOs repeatedly use falsified and outdated information to raise huge amounts of money for themselves while pretending to support wildlife conservation in Africa.

The result is that Western countries have continuously voted against the ivory and rhino horn trade proposals.

It has been 47 years since Southern African countries began lobbying for the free trade in ivory.

Commenting on the untenable situation, Harris said: “The corruption found in the Western democracies is the inevitable result of their government mechanisms being appropriated by an army of lobbyists, working for large corporations and major organisations joining with elitist bureaucrats and their lawyers”.

Harris added: “Elected politicians have become mere enablers for the technocrats while the voting citizens are now just observers.”

“In this type of atmosphere, when no one is actually minding the ‘store,’ ideological theft of scientific proof becomes rampant.

“If Western leaders are facing serious legal problems and their elected governments have been hijacked by sophisticated functionaries working with wealthy private sector interests, is there really anything worthwhile for Africa to follow or emulate?”

Answering his question, Harris said: “The time is ripe for a courageous African leader to tell Western governments that African countries no longer need Western approval for the choices they make in wildlife trade”.

Harris said given the deep rifts in so many Western democracies, whatever protest “might be heard” can be ignored.

Concurring with Harris, Botswana Chieftainess Rebecca Banika of the Pandamantenga Community said: “It’s simply time for Southern Africa’s leaders to become part of a team and call for international trade in their ivory and rhino horn stockpiles and the sustainable use of their natural resources, including the need to continue trophy hunting for the socioeconomic benefits of their citizens”.

“I have been advocating for the sale of our ivory stockpiles for the socio-economic benefit of my community since 2000.

“I am still making the same request for ivory sales so that the 2023 drought-hit Southern Africa region can use the trade funds to alleviate poverty and support wildlife conservation.”

The ignored truth repeated by Africans and international observers is this: “Trade not bans will save African wildlife.”

Has the ban on international trade in ivory and rhino horn stopped poaching and illegal wildlife trade?

Clearly not.

But do the animal rights NGOs want to stop poaching? Many observers now have their doubts.

NGOs are more concerned about showing gruesome photos of animals suffering at the hands of poachers.

They do this to whip up public emotions and attract large amounts of donated funds.

Elsewhere, Zambia-based Southern Africa Community Leaders Network Chairperson, Dr. Rodgers Lubilo said that “it’s extremely wrong for the Western countries to dictate to our governments how to trade in ivory and rhino horn.”

“The decision should be left to the Africans who produce these resources,” said Dr Lubilo, the Zambian academic and conservationist produced by a wildlife-revenue-built school.

“Our governments must explore alternative legal routes to trade in ivory so that the revenue earned can be used to support conservation, including the social-economic wellbeing of local communities.”

Well-placed sources say that African wildlife think tanks recently joined with their international counterparts and came up with legal and sustainable wildlife trade ideas that African countries can use to generate income to ensure the well-being of the people and wildlife.

“Africa, particularly Southern Africa, is endowed with natural resources that will forever remain a game-changer for the whole continent, especially the opportunity to trade in ivory and products of other species,” said the Environment and Natural Resources Officer of Zimbabwe’s elephant-over-populated Hwange Rural District Council, Nxolelani Ncube.

*About the Writer: Emmanuel Koro is a Johannesburg-based independent international award-winning environmental journalist who writes extensively on environmental and developmental issues in Africa.

Originally published in https://www.thebulrushes.com


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