TRADE links between a white Zimbabwean business tycoon and Zanu PF heavyweights who were granted lucrative hunting and photographic concessions during the government’s sullied land reform
scheme has sparked controversy which has a royal dimension.
Charles Davy, the father of Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Chelsy, has carved out a fortune through marketing wildlife hunting safaris owned by President Robert Mugabe’s lieutenants.
The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal that the background to Davy’s wealth includes business partnerships with some of Mugabe’s close lieutenants who have been accused of corruptly using their influence to acquire Parks and Wildlife concessions.
The beneficiaries, whose safari concessions are now being marketed by Davy’s HHK Safaris, hold long leases on farms in hunting and photographic destinations in central Midlands, Matetsi Safari Area, the south-western and south-eastern shores of Lake Kariba and the south-western Lowveld of Zimbabwe.
Prince Harry has been photographed with Chelsy in South Africa prior to their departure for a Mozambique island resort last week.
HHK Safaris director Vincent Davy on Wednesday said his organisation was not based on any political benefaction.
“HHK was started in 1998 and it is not based on any political patronage,” Davy said. “It was not then and it is not now. It does not have any hunting concession area of its own. HHK is not a concessionaire. HHK is a marketing organisation.”
Information to hand indicates that HHK Safaris’ marketing wing, Safari Marketing and Management Services, market five hunting concessions with 15 camps. These are Chirisa owned by Famba Safaris, Unit 1 and Kasibi held by Matetsi Wildlife, Chete owned by Burmakino Travel and Tours, Omay by National Safaris and Lemco owned by Mazunga Safari.
Investigations by the Independent reveal that Webster Shamu, the Minister of State for Policy Implementation in Mugabe’s office, is a shareholder in Famba Safaris, the holding company for Chirisa concession and has also been represented by HKK Safaris during international hunting conventions.
Shamu, who has been tipped to take over as the next Information minister, has also been fingered in the contentious allocation of Matetsi Unit 5. He was once the editor of the People’s Voice, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Zanu PF. Reached for comment on Wednesday, Shamu declined to comment on the matter saying it was a contentious issue sparked by a love affair of “two kids”, a reference to Harry and Chelsy.
The Independent understands that in Matetsi 5 concession, seven units in the area were leased to ruling party and high-ranking government officials. Unit 1, which is currently trading as Matetsi Wildlife, is in the name of Eddie Kadzombe, Unit 2 Mike Chidziwa, Unit 3 Enos Dube, Unit 4 Jacob Mudenda, Unit 5 Shamu, Unit 6 Army General Constantine Chiwenga and Unit 7 Lovemore Chihota.
Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema has confirmed that his Zanu PF colleagues named have concessions but vehemently denied allegations of favouritism. Trying to rebut a widely-held perception that the allocation of hunting concessions only benefited leading Zanu PF politicians, Nhema said everything was done above board. He said they went to tender and emerged victors.
“They attended the auctions for the concessions. It is on record how they got the concessions and how the auction happened,” Nhema said.
Questions are now being asked about the suitability of Chelsy to be a royal bride following reports that Prince Harry plans to marry her. Already the love affair has caused consternation in Royal circles with many Britons arguing that the Prince cannot marry into a family whose head sups with the Mugabe regime.