Tanzania conservation news – MP blames ‘foreigners only’ for anti highway opposition


The member of parliament for Ngorongoro, one Ole Telele, raised a storm of heated arguments yesterday in Dar es Salaam during a WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature – sponsored dialogue over the pro’s and con’s of the proposed highway across the Serengeti. Clearly stung by growing criticism about the road, the MP ‘let fly’ in a series of utterances heaping blame on what he called ‘foreigners’ being opposed to the highway project. This however did not go down well with representatives of the Tanzanian tourism industry, several of whom took the member of parliament to task with facts and figures, promptly belying his argument that no locals were against the road project and the entire campaign was foreign sponsored.

Serious concern about the impact of the road on the migration of the great herds and the breeding grounds of recently re-introduced Eastern Black rhinos was raised by top tourism stakeholder representatives from TATO – the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators and also the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania, the sectoral apex body for the entire industry. They all repeated what has often been said before, that the road was likely to damage the long term future of the safari sector and called upon government to agree to an alternative route around the southern end of the Serengeti to avoid cutting off the main migration route and risking the great herds of wildebeest and zebras to dwindle into insignificance.

When closing the one day workshop the organizers acknowledged that emotions were running high over the plans and called for more dialogue between government, conservationists and the tourism private sector in order to reach a consensus and solution.

Watch this space.