NEW TOURISM MINISTER VOWS TO MAKE CHANGES
Appointed only last week, when his predecessor Ezekiel Maige was unceremoniously sacked alongside 5 other cabinet ministers, did the new man at the helm of the ministry for natural resources and tourism Khamis Kagesheki make his first major announcement yesterday in Dar es Salaam. Poaching, illegal timber cutting and trade and unsustainable use of natural resources will be high on his agenda it appears from reports received. There are many complaints on poaching, allocation of hunting blocks and illegal trading of timber. We are going to focus on those problems the new minister was quoted in having said, a first indicator that he understands what led to the downfall of Maige and how to avoid falling into the same traps by tackling the right issues.
There is speculation in Dar es Salaams tourism and conservation circles that senior staff at ministry level and subordinate bodies under the ministry may also face the axe to allow the minister a fresh start all round with new faces not associated with past scandals over illegal logging and allegedly illegal exports of wildlife. Said a regular source from Arusha when discussing the issue: Maige talked too much and talked too much rubbish. Of course no one tells a sitting minister in his face but those were wide sentiments. He lost grip on illegal logging, illegal wildlife trade which uses Tanzania as a conduit and for sure he failed to make use of the Presidents support to crack down hard on poaching. The President even offered troops but Maige and TANAPA, what were they doing. In fact, TANAPA went on rampage last year by blackmailing tour operators when they had an issue with lodges and tented camps. They held our drivers and tourists hostage. It is such issues the new minister needs to look into. Expanding Tanga Marine National Park inland is another issue he should look at. The whole question of that damned road through the Serengeti, the railway routings, mining in the Selous, the planned power plant at Stieglers Gorge, the Lake Natron soda ash plant, there are so many issues which you keep writing about. TTB needs to shape up in promotion to match our neighbours and popularize Tanzania and our islands. I have talked with colleagues and we are ready to give the new man some time to settle down but there are hard decisions waiting for him..
Similar statements are also expected from the new transport minister in particular about the future of the countrys dilapidated railway system, of which several routes could become instant tourist attractions besides once again providing Tanzanians with safe and affordable means of transport. One of the most controversial issues, the future of Air Tanzania, which has left the government in the lurch over guarantees given to them in the past for transactions, now estimated to cost the country up to 200 million US Dollars to settle is also on the new transport ministers agenda and he will be well advised to make peace with parliament which had unearthed the scandals by taking harsh and literally instant action against those implicated in the alleged fraud. Watch this space.