ZAWA warns traditional healer

Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has warned traditional healers against venturing into protected areas without the prescribed documents for their medicines.

ZAWA public relations officer Kalembwe Sakabilo said the traditional healers proposed Bill to regulate traditional healers in Zambia should provide for guidelines on the procedures in collecting their medicines.

He said with adequate official recognition of their activities all protected areas must be treated as such by everybody including traditional healers. “Our protected areas are protected. Those areas are habitant areas and also breeding areas for our wildlife and we do not allow any kind of destruction to nature.

“And so anybody going into our protected areas armed with axes and hoes with the intention to dig up roots and cut off tree bulks of are causing destruction to our habitats and we shall charge them for that,” Mr Sakabilo said.

He was commenting on the recent announcement that Government had prepared a Bill for regulation of traditional medicines in Zambia.

Last week, the Traditional Healers and Practitioners Association of Zambia (THAPAZ) called on ZAWA to allow them access protected areas to collect roots, leaves, some tree bulks, as well as some animals and animal parts which make up their medicines.

But Mr Sakabilo said ZAWA was alive to the fact that some people masquerading as traditional healers have been venturing into some forests and protected areas under the pretexts of the collecting medicines but ending up destroying both vegetation and animal life.

He said just because Government would formulate laws for traditional healers did not imply they had a passport to venture into illegal activities.