Engendering greater citizen rights in Campfire: a double edged sword?: some reflections from the case study of Hurungwe
When the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) was formulated in the late 1980s it was seen as introducing a compendium of rights related to making a living from the management of wildlife resources by local communities. Since the mid-1990s questions have been asked about the nature and form of citizen rights (if any) that the CAMPFIRE model engenders. Specific questions have centred on whether there was adequate devolution of authority to enhance community participation above the level of ArnsteinÆs tokenism. This paper looks at CAMPFIRE ten years on through a case study of Hurungwe district in Zimbabwe. It shows that to some, CAMPFIRE was able to: develop new skills and knowledge (district level bureaucratic and village elites); provide limited mitigation against some covariate risks in a generally neglected frontier region; and, more crucially provide a platform to demand accountability from elected leadership. To others, CAMPFIRE is resented as synonymous with usurped rights to make a living (evicted squatters and victims of wildlife damage). The paper argues with some specific examples that the exercise of citizen power can be a double-edged sword. While benefiting some, for others it has trampled on their rights to make a living. While enhancing participation and accountability, the practice of the same citizen power is potentially detrimental to wildlife conservation. The paper concludes that although there are still unresolved tensions in the CAMPFIRE model, not least a shared understanding of the nature and place of citizenship rights and the final end state of devolved wildlife management, the core principles and founding values of CAMPFIRE are still ideals to strive for.