Serengeti Highway Watch … and more …

From information received it seems that President Kikwetehas signed the new draconian bills against publishing
statistics not sanctioned by his increasingly oppressive
government into law, now making it a criminal offense.
Not falling into his jurisdiction be sure that you will still
get data updates on this blog while our legal team
determines if an arrest could be affected when next
visiting Tanzania …so watch this space!


Serengeti Watch Alert

A new president will
be elected in October,

and the stakes are high. The leading contender has

supported the

Serengeti highway.

Now there is an

ominous new development.

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Draconian new


laws will set back



inquiry, political


and the free flow

of ideas in Tanzania.

Urge President



to sign these laws!

click on the image to view the petition

Go further, contact a

Tanzanian Embassy or Consulate.

Repressive laws a huge

setback for wildlife

conservation and human


The "
Statistics Bill
will make it illegal
disseminate information that does not
with the government’s own Bureau of
Statistics. Conservationists, academics,
and activists could
face jail time for publishing anything not
approved or
officially released by the government.
The "Cybercrimes Act" will make it

illegal to

share information that is "deceptive,


or inaccurate," even to receive such


Police can confiscate equipment and

arrest users

if they simply suspect such a "crime" has


More bills

are under consideration that will further
freedoms and give the government
excessive power.

Inquiry, Research,

Publishing Under Threat

It’s a pivotal moment for the Tanzanian people, their

freedoms, development, and their great natural

heritage. These laws could not come at a worse

time – before an election, with a bright new generation of young people eager to make a contribution, with serious issues of

climate change, population growth, wildlife crime,

corruption, and social welfare.

Now more than ever Tanzania needs a free flow of

creative ideas to deal with these challenges. And now

more than ever initiatives need to come from the

ground up, challenging the government to act


Please sign the Petition


What would be the effect of these laws on

conservation and wildlife crime?


The impact would be devastating for wildlife crime,

conservation research, and for education and

awareness among Tanzanians. The laws would

severely limit the effectiveness of conservation

organizations. For instance, who would be able to

publish controversial statistics on the impact of a

highway across the Serengeti?

Another case in point, last year the Environmental

Investigative Agency issued a landmark report stating

that Tanzania had lost two thirds of its elephants in

the previous six years. It stated that "responsibility lies

at the highest levels of government." It goes on to say

that in 2005 there were some 142,000 elephants in

Tanzania and that when President Kikwete leaves

office in 2015, the population will have dropped to

some 55,000.

The East African, a newspaper published in Kenya and

widely circulated throughout the region summarized

the report. In January of this year, the paper was

banned in Tanzania.

The Great Elephant Census, a two-year project funded

by Microsoft founder, Paul Allen, more recently reported that the elephant population in Ruaha National Park and neighboring game reserves has gone from 20,000 to 8,000 in a single year! The Tanzanian government received the report in January but claims it needs a "secondary validation."

What is the Cybercrimes Act?

This law is perhaps the most extreme. The authorities

only have to suspect that information is "deceptive,

misleading or inaccurate." Information on wildlife

and other issues is shared on social media by a small

but active group of young Tanzanians. Police could

enter anytime on suspicion, arrest users, and

confiscate computers. Again, the threat extends well

beyond conservation and would be a huge blow for

open communication and freedom in Tanzania.

How will this affect journalists?

In neighboring Kenya the media can be quite

outspoken. But in Tanzania, press harassment is

getting worse as the ruling party faces growing

opposition in advance of elections. Of course in a

repressive environment, self censorship becomes a

way to survive. Even if the laws are not widely

enforced, their presence will inhibit the flow of

information, driving it underground.

Why is this happening?

Perhaps out of fear. The ruling party has always held

power in Tanzania, but it has lost support in many

communities across the country. The old guard dates

back to the days when their party had total dominance.

Perhaps for protection. Wildlife crime is rampant. The

money involved is staggering and the layers of

corruption are deep. The blood ivory of a single dead

elephant is worth $21,000. With more than 87,000

elephants poached in the past ten years, it amounts


nearly two billion dollars, a vast sum for a developing

country. The lifetime value of these elephants is 75

times that amount, a veritable treasure stolen from

Tanzanian citizens.

Please sign the Petition

More Information:

‘Unofficial’ data could land you behind bars

Journalists and wildlife activists threatened over use

of false statistics

Why is the Tanzanian government making

information illegal?

TANAPA’s angry reaction a harbinger of things to
come under new laws

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