Tanzanian officials react angrily over renewed conservation criticism


(Posted 06th October 2013)

Critics of a recent conservation award given in the US to President Kikwete, which some described as making the goat the gardener in reference to his time in State House presiding over an unprecedented slaughter of elephants in Tanzania going into the tens of thousands, have been told to shut up by the Director of Communications at State House Dar es Salaam Mr. Salva Rweyemamu, who was clearly stung by the intensity of the criticism so soon and so harshly no sooner than his boss had been given an award termed by conservationists ‘worth nothing, nothing at all’.

Rweyemamu in fact exposed the government’s true intent, willingly or just by shooting his mouth off as has been suggested, that the highway across the migration routes of the Serengeti will be built by hook or crook, Uranium in the Selous would be mined by hook or crook and the soda ash extraction plant at Lake Natron too would be built, even though it would destroy the only breeding place for the entire East African flamingo population.

Conservation sources immediately rubbished his asseration though that President Kikwete had vowed to use the army against poaching, with one source writing: ‘Kikwete promised that last year too and the only thing which happened is that senior army officers were since then implicated in poaching themselves. The rot in his government goes just too deep and too many of his own establishment are up to their hair tips involved in poaching and ivory smuggling. Such retorts are no longer holding water and he and his government are standing exposed as the worst environmental offenders in Tanzania’s entire history. In fact, Mwalimu must be turning in his grave considering his strong commitment to conservation, which has now all but gone down the drain for shortlived profits and alleged bribes’.

Other conservation sources pointed to CITES and other international bodies reports which have suggested that the majority of the blood ivory comes from Tanzania and mainly from the Selous and Ruaha where hardly any protection exists in the deep of those reserves and parks, allowing for commercial scale slaughter which opposition figures in parliament have pegged at well over the 30 elephant a day poached given in an official report by government.

Another regular source, in reference to this author’s article The Corridor of Destruction (http://atcnews.org/2011/05/01/tanzania-conservation-breaking-news-the-corridor-of-destruction-from-the-coast-to-the-lake/ ) wrote that the arrogance of government officials would only lead to a yet more active decampaigning of Tanzania by exposing their every move and urging travellers to rather visit other destination in East Africa which take conservation more seriously and do more than just pay mere lip service. The decision on the Serengeti Highway now rests with the East African Court of Justice, where one source mentioned recently that it was not lost on the judges what historic decision they had to take in order to protect the great migration. However it is clear that this latest uncontrolled outburst in public by a senior government official shows just how sensitive this matter has now become and that clearly the establishment is stung by the renewed global criticism which had earlier this year already resulted in Tanzania withdrawing her ill considered application to CITES for a one off sale of 100 tons of ivory held in storage across the country.

Additional feature articles referring to similar conservation issues can be accessed via the following links: http://atcnews.org/2012/01/18/tanzania-conservation-news-corridor-of-destruction-reloaded/




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