23 May 2017
   
ZESA: Massive power cuts next week
Kasukuwere, Midlands war over CIO spy
Mnangagwa hobnobs with Islamic scholar
Australia: Zim man admits state fraud
Police beat up 200 at farm Grace wants
Mugabe rotting dog man seeks US asylum
Zimbabwe earns just $27m from diamonds
Suicide bomber kills 22 at UK concert
MORE NEWS
RBZ bungling cripples Mutare carmaker
Zim visa is Africa's most restrictive
MORE BUSINESS
Ailing 'Gede Mwana' hitmaker needs help
Facebook founder nixes public office
MORE SHOWBIZ
Chitembwe bullish ahead of USM Alger tie
'I'm no devil', blasts angry Ronaldo
MORE SPORTS
Africa & the widening leadership deficit
Gukurahundi targeted Ndebeles: US honcho
MORE OPINION
 
Immigration: Brexit and the Commonwealth
Worship freedom and prophetic delusions
MORE COLUMNISTS
 
 
Cultural property trafficking: Army says ready to help
28/09/2015 00:00:00
by Anna Chibamu
 
 
RELATED STORIES

THE security services have been roped in to fight smuggling of the country’s cultural heritage which is said to be now rampant, having started under settler colonial rule.

Officials say trafficking of Zimbabwe's cultural property has been aided by weaknesses in the country's export and import regulations as well as the lack of capacity to deal with the problem.

National museums and monuments director, Ghodhi Bvocho, said corrupt curators have, since colonial rule, smuggled Zimbabwe’s cultural treasure to outside markets for financial gain.

“These property crimes have been on-going since colonial rule.

“Therefore, we have roped in law enforcement agencies to deal with the irregularities,” Bvocho told a recent meeting at the National Museums and Monuments Department’s headquarters in Harare.

Items stolen range from archaeological artefacts to contemporary art as well as decapitated heads of heroes of the First Chimurenga.

The objects include the Zimbabwe birds and ethnographic objects comprising headrests, individual ritual objects, walking sticks and clubs.

The army has offered its services to the department and agencies such as Interpol to help address the challenge.

Said Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) legal officer, Major Beck Christopher Maposa: “We are offering our full support and protection by any means necessary.

“Even in the case of war or armed conflict, our museums and monuments should feel safe because we bear a mandate to protect our heritage.

“Mind you, heritage boosts our tourism.”

Interpol regional special officer, Rudolph Mbumba, added: “As Interpol, we are ready to help fight against heritage crimes.

“We are facilitating international police cooperation in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Our database consists of 46,100 artworks from 131 countries that we need to protect and we have access to the tools needed for the police to do their job.”

National museums and monuments chief curator, Kundishora Chipunza, called for tougher penalties against perpetrators.

“Heritage properties are irreplaceable and priceless.

“Therefore, heritage crimes have to be taken into criminal law and those found wanting should be punished,” he said.

Traffickers have taken advantage of the vulnerability of African cultural property to illicitly supply a global industry which, according to UNESCO, is worth US$6 billion annually.



Advertisement

The black market of cultural property, UNESCO adds, has grown 50% in the last two decades, largely driven by the internet.


 
Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it

Del.icio.us

Reddit

Newsvine

Nowpublic

Stumbleupon

Face Book

Myspace

Fark
 
 
 
comments powered by Disqus
 
RSS NewsTicker