President Peter Mutharika has assented to the National Parks and Wildlife Act, a development Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines says will help clear Malawi’s image on ivory trade and other wild life crimes.
Malawi was considered a comfort zone for illegal wildlife trade because of its laws which were considered the weakest in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region.
Director of Parks and Wildlife Bright Kumchedwa and the ministry’s spokesperson responsible for climate change and environment Sangwani Phiri on Monday confirmed that the President had signed the revised Act in January.
Kumchedwa said the country will no longer be a weak link that criminals capitalised to do illegal trades.
“This is a very big achievement. Malawi will no longer be a weak link. The Act was the weakest in the Sadc region and criminals were studying the law. Knowing the law was weak they were using the country to smuggle items,” said Kumchedwa.
Meanwhile, Citizen for Justice executive director Reinford Mwangonde said there is need to take to task everyone involved in the crime.
He said no one should be left out, adding there is need for a multi-sectoral approach in fighting poaching and other wildlife crimes.
Mwangonde said the media should also take a key role in protecting wildlife.
“It is frustrating that when sometimes you go after those that are involved in the trade, the culprits get tipped off and they run away. These people are well connected. So, there is need to deal with everyone involved in the crime,” he said.
On his part, Phiri said government will not spare anyone who is involved in illegal trade.
He said government wants to protect wildlife and promote tourism in the country. n