MTWARA ‘VERY TENSE’ THOUGH FLIGHTS CONTINUE, FOR NOW
Information has come to light from sources in Tanzania that the town of Mtwara, recently in the news over increasingly acrimonious exchanges between the local population and their leaders and the central government over plans to build a gas pipeline for gas to Dar es Salaam instead of processing on site, has seen the situation escalate earlier today. From what has been gathered have local businesses decided to keep their stores and shops closed and there appears to be a sharp increase in the presence of security forces deployed across the town, and at the airport.
From the details given, air traffic is continuing for now and it is hoped that the volatile situation can be diffused without any outbreak of scuffles or worse.
Mtwara is at the centre of some of the biggest gas discoveries made in recent history and certainly the largest so far along the Eastern African seabord, and additional exploration has been stepped up to both find more deposits as well as get the fields discovered so far on to production stage. The Mtwara population had hoped, in fact expected, that processing facilities would be constructed on site to turn the gas into LPG but the powers that be in Dar es Salaam apparently had other ideas when they insisted on a pipeline being built to ship the gas to Tanzania’s commercial capital and process it there. With hopes for jobs instantly doused, the mood started to turn from sour to bad to ugly, as the lastest development in Mtwara shows, a reminder for politicians that increasingly the local population demands their own, as is incidentally seen in Uganda too where the Bunyoro Kingdom is holding out for a larger share in the proceeds of future oil production, with most of the Uganda’s discoveries made within the boundaries of the Kingdom.
Presently Mtwara is connected by air to Dar es Salaam with flights from Precision Air and Air Tanzania but neither airline has reportedly issued any travel advisories to their passengers booked to fly there, indicating that air services, for now, continue to operate uninterrupted.
Watch this space for future updates as and when they become available.