So far 1,111,480 people have signed a petition to “Demand Justice for Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe” by asking that country’s president to stop issuing hunting permits to kill endangered animals. This despite the fact that Zimbabwe is a member of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and that the United States Fish and Wildlife allows most animals hunted in Zimbabwe (including lions and elephants) to be imported into the U.S. and, more importantly, that Robert Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe.
Here is a short portrait of the man that animal activists are asking to change laws by appealing to his soft side.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980. In 2000, he ordered the takeover of white-owned farms. This led to economic collapse and hyper-inflation of 250 million percent by 2008. During this time unemployment hit 90 percent and 80 percent of the population lived on and continues to live on less than $2 per day.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that life expectancy in Zimbabwe in 1990 was 64 years. Today it stands at 37 years for men and 34 years for women.
When the United Kingdom compared Mugabe to Adolf Hitler due to his racist attitudes (the whole taking White farms, calling for Whites to be killed, etc.), Mugabe countered in 2003 by stating, “I am still the Hitler of the time, […] This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.”
Although Zimbabwe once claimed to have a literacy rate of 90%, Catholic Archbishop of Zimbabwe Pius Ncube recently said otherwise. He told journalists, “We had the best education in Africa and now our schools are closing.”
Mugabe got his current wife, who is 41 years his junior, pregnant while she was still married. Although “loved” in Zimbabwe, First Lady Grace Marufu is known as “Gucci Grace” for her lavish spending habits in Europe (remember, most people in Zim live on less than $2 a day).
At his 91st birthday in March (an event that cost more than a million U.S. dollars), Mugabe served guests baby elephant, two buffalo, two sables and five impalas. A lion and crocodile were shot and mounted specifically for the event but not eaten.
Appealing to Mugabe to do anything is ridiculous. The man cares about little as 35-year record on human rights, disastrous economic policies, and an impoverished citizenry will attest to.
Asking a guy that had a lion shot and mounted so he could sit under it and eat baby elephant at his birthday to ban legal hunting is about a dumb a notion as I’ve ever heard. But then I’m not sure the 1,111,480 people that are asking Mugabe to ban hunting are actually thinking. More like going on misguided emotion.