The US Government has congratulated the Malawi government for destroying about 2.6 tons of ivory on Monday.
In a message on Facebook, the United States (US) said the K5 billion bonfire has sent a clear message to ivory traffickers and their customers that Malawi will not tolerate illegal wildlife trade.
The US also suggested that Malawi is taking part in a worldwide campaign against poaching since the Americans have also destroyed approximately 7 tons of ivory in the past three years.
African elephant populations have declined by about 20 percent in the last decade to just over 400,000 and the US government says only a worldwide solution will stop wildlife poaching and wildlife crime.
However, the congratulatory message by the US government has not been welcomed by Malawians and most of them wondered why the country should be commended after failing to utilise a good opportunity.
Eddie Naming’ona said: “This is “lose lose” situation and we are being congratulated? When blood diamonds were flooding the West, why was there no massive destruction of these diamonds to show the blood diamond traders the West meant business? Such double standards.
“Malawi could have used this ivory and fund the game reserves and prevent this from happening again. The one thing a thief hates is his loot being stolen. Poachers would have hated to see Malawi use proceeds from their loot. Now that would be sweet revenge but today we lost elephants as well as burned K5bn. Game reserves are still grossly underfunded and poachers are back in business. This was not in the best interest of Malawi. In a few years, we will burn another K5bn in the name of “we sure showed those poachers!”
JM Dzonzi said: “I am finding it out of order and very awkward to congratulate Malawi for burning about MKW5 billion to show ivory traffickers that we are not going to entertain illegal ivory traders. How many hospitals and clinics could have been stocked with medicine if we sold it. Missed opportunity.”
Others however were in support of government’s decision to burn the ivory arguing that Malawi would have been involved in illegal business if it had sold the ivory.
Rasheed Malandula said: “This is good; Malawi really has shown to the world that we are serious in wildlife conservation. There is no way these ivories would be sold on black market. Government cannot promote black market.”
Laurent Kalonga said: “it’s illegal and there is no market for this….u want the whole state to look for a black market???”