Tanzania: VP Warns Pastoralists Over Protected Areas

THE government has issued a strong warning against pastoralists who graze their cattle within or near protected areas, insisting that they will not be spared.

Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan also warned, yesterday, that those carrying out human related activities within national parks will be squarely dealt with.

"Let me warn those behind such practices to stop them immediately lest they face government's wrath," warned the VP shortly after inaugurating the paramilitary force managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism at Fort Ikoma area within Serengeti National Park.

In the same vein, she urged residents staying near the protected areas to become law abiding citizens and shun such practices that deplete the country's natural resources.

"I urge you to respect the laws of the country and from today onwards, stop encroaching and cutting down trees in national parks and other protected areas," she observed.

The Vice-President challenged the residents to become the force's ears in complementing the government's cause of protecting natural resources.

"It is my very hope that you'll ably assist the unit in its endeavours," she said. According to the Vice- President, Mara Region was severely affected by human encroachment on protected areas, calling upon the paramilitary force to hit the ground running in addressing the vice. Ms Samia also challenged the force to secure all protected areas against perpetrators of terror attacks.

"It is therefore important to secure our protected areas so that they don't become hideouts of people with ill-will," observed the Vice-President.

The establishment of the paramilitary force was the government's strong commitment of controlling poaching and depletion of natural resources in the country, according to Ms Samia.

She said that the appointment of retired military personnel to head conservation boards attested Tanzania's zeal of protecting the country's natural resources.

Ms Samia challenged all departments and agencies dealing with wildlife, forestry and other natural resources to seriously implement the structural changes, in enhancing their authorities' performance particularly in managing game reserves, wildlife management areas, forests and other protected areas.

Likewise, the Vice-President urged them to exhibit patriotism, discipline and professionalism while discharging their duties.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Nape Nnauye, commended the government for establishing the force in protecting the country's natural resources.

He, however, appealed to the paramilitary force to conduct their operations with a human face. The departure from civilian to paramilitary system by the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania Wildlife Management (Tawa) and Tanzania Forest Services Agency (TFS) not only seek to protect natural resources, but also instill discipline in the institutions which fall under the Tourism and Natural Resources Ministry.

The move has seen its senior officers and conservators taken to Mlele camp in Katavi Game Reserve, located in Katavi Region for a paramilitary training.

Wildlife Management Act number 5 of 2009 provides for the shift of the institutions from civilian to the paramilitary system.

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