Arusha, Tanzania — The First Instance Division today heard the evidence witnesses in a Reference (case) by the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) contesting United Republic of Tanzania's intention to build a "super highway" crossing the Serengeti National Park, with the Kenyan organization arguing, it would be hazardous to animals.
The sole witness for the Applicant was Mr. John Mabala Kuloba an Environment Consultant with Earth Services Limited in Kenya. Kuloba, who practices assessment in environmental impact, participated in the evaluation of the Serengeti Highway with other experts and according to the assessment both positive and negative impacts were observed.
He said the proposed road goes through the National Park and due to noise and public movement on the road; animal behavior would be affected among other negative impacts. On the other hand, he noted the road will create opportunities of provision of goods for the markets, reduce long distance travels for the people, it being a public road. He however maintained that the project ought to be abandoned to protect the wild life and the ecosystem if the National Park.
The witness for the Respondent, Ms. Zafarani A. Madayi, Head of Safety & Environment, Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS) representing the United Republic of Tanzania said, although the construction of the road across the national park has a number of negative impacts such as killing of animals due to over speeding of cars and animal harassment as a result of noise pollution, what should be emphasized is mitigation measures in order to enhance the positive impacts such as tourism and social-economic development contributed to by good roads. Other witnesses for of the Government of Tanzania, Dr. James V. Wakibara, Principal Ecologist, Tanzania National Parks and Mr. William Simon Mwakilema, in charge of Serengeti National Park, both contended that, the main purpose of the road is for tourism and administrative use.
In March 2012 the EACJ First Instance Division granted ANAW a temporary injunction against Tanzanian Government which effectively blocked the latter's attempt to construct a highway through the Serengeti National Park until the Reference was heard and determined.
Present at the hearing were the Representative of ANAW, Mr. Wachi Benson, His Lawyer Mr. Saitabao Kanchory Mbalelo and Counsel for Tanzania Mr. Gabriel Malata, Principal State Attorney all appearing before The Principal Judge Hon. Mr. Justice Jean Bosco Butasi, The Deputy Principal Judge Hon. Lady Justice Mary Stella Arach Amoko, Hon. Mr. Justice John Mkwawa, Hon. Mr. Justice Isaac Lenaola and Hon. Mr. Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo in open Court.
The Court will notify the parties on the day to highlight the written submissions.
The First Instance Division has resumed its 3rd quarter sessions today which will go up to September 2013, in Arusha Tanzania. A total of 23 matters will be handled and these include; 13 References, 4 Applications coming up for hearing and scheduling conferences, 1 Judgment to be delivered and 5 Taxations coming before the Registrar of the Court.
SOURCE East African Court of Justice (EACJ)