Paramount Chief Lundu has sent a strong warning to politicians in the district against using Lengwe National Pak as a campaign tool.
Lundu made the remarks on Thursday during the launch of Lengwe Revenue Sharing Scheme between the park and communities that surround it.
He said there was a growing tendency by some aspiring candidates to lie to communities that once voted into power they will force powers that be to release part of the park to communities for farming and settlement.
“Lengwe National Park is a government property which aims at helping every Malawian. When we have different animal species in it, more visitors are attracted to visit the park and in the process a lot of money is raised,” he said.
The Paramount Chief added it was sad to note that some parts of the park were turned into grazing, farming as well as settlement areas resulting into the disappearance of more animal species.
He then called on the communities to work with law enforcers in protecting the park so as to restore it to its former glory.
During the event, Lengwe Wildlife Association, a grouping of people from communities surrounding the park received MK500,000 as a 25 percent share from profits realized from the protected area.
Chairperson for the association, Sifoliano Gweta said the event was one way of ensuring communities around the park know and appreciate their status as owners of the park.
He therefore said the money received, would be used to implement various development projects.
“As an association, we will continue sensitizing communities to conserve Lengwe National Park so that we are able to do away with the current challenges the park is facing and strive to restore its dignity,” he said.
Director in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Brighton Kumchedwa in his speech warned some game rangers against conniving with poachers saying once caught they will lose their jobs in the process.
The director said it was sad to note that the park was no longer attractive due to loss of animal species, a situation he said makes Majete Game Reserve under African Parks a preference for most tourists.
“Some communities have invaded the park and are busy conducting illegal activities. For instance there is heavy charcoal burning. As such I would like to request our chiefs to apply an extra gear of sensitizing communities on the importance of the park,” said Kumchedwa.
Lengwe National Park is surrounded by four Traditional Authorities namely; Paramount Chief Lundu, Senior Chiefs Chapananga and Ngabu as well as TA Ndakwera.