Originally published in The Nation (MW) newspaper on 16th march 2016.
Written by Yvonnie Sundu
Award winning musician, Lawi, says he supports Malawi’s move to burn 2.9 tons of ivory smuggled from Tanzania.
Justifying his comments on the matter, Lawi said music and culture go together.
“Music, culture and wildlife have a very strong connection. You remember as kids, we used to be told folktales where animals like Kalulu [Hare] and Njovu [Elephant] were the characters and music was involved. That bond still exists today, hence my applauding the country’s decision to burn the 781 pieces of ivory,” Lawi said.
This move followed a protracted cross-border dispute over whether the elephant tusks should be saved as legal evidence against poachers.
The musician said all things being equal, Malawi was not supposed to burn the ivory as potentially one can make a killing out of it.
“Surely selling it results in a lot of money. Actually, the value is K5 billion but we all know that ivory trade was banned in 1989 with a few countries exempted and Malawi is not one of them. We can’t sell something that is illegal.
“Let’s denounce poaching because 20 years from now, children born today might not have the pleasure of seeing elephants. Without targeting foreigners, let’s unite to protect our wildlife instead of aiding other nationals in depleting it. It is our responsibility,” he said.
The burning of the ivory believed to have been smuggled from Tanzania in 2013, follows the expiry of a 90 day stay order by Tanzania to have the ivory kept as it concludes the case.
Judge Dingiswayo Madise ruled on March 2 that the ivory, found in the hands of two Malawian brothers, Chancy and Patrick Kaunda, be burnt in full view of the public after Tanzania failed to extend the stay order.