Human-wildlife conflicts complex, a ministerial tour can just diagnose

06Oct 2021
The Guardian
Human-wildlife conflicts complex, a ministerial tour can just diagnose

​​​​​​​A HIGH powered team of eight cabinet ministers recently convened by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to address human-wildlife conflicts in ten regions comprising 920 villages near protected areas across the country is already fully at work.

This is the impression gain ed from remarks by the ministerial team leader, William Lukuvi. The minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development told the media that the team was working on its tour of Dodoma, Singida, Manyara, Tabora, Mbeya, Morogoro, Dar es Salaam, Coast, Mara and Geita. He did not say exactly how the work is shared out but reported preliminary or definite findings concerning the 920 villages already.

The team involves eight ministers in sectors like Agriculture, Water, Defense, Environment, Housing and Settlements, Natural Resources and Tourism as well as Livestock and Fisheries and the whole team or portion of its membership or technical representation would tour all the ten regions to get the right picture of issues at top level. That was the spirit of the directive, but it is undeniable that the whole cabinet group can’t visit each trouble spot one after another for an audience with stakeholders. It would be backbreaking; public administration has systems of information flows to stem burdens.

The minister expects that the tours or overall work will be concluded by October 20 where the team will give a report to the president on the way forward. On the basis of what transpired, the team is already tacked with information on all those issues, and locations, and visiting those places is likely to be meant to add heavy political pressure towards reconciliation and observance of the law. It may also  amplify on alternative courses of action that the cabinet team would be considering especially as to the team leader as responsible minister on the issue. Others are major stakeholders at elevated levels.

 Preliminary information as aired by the minister shows that the 920 villages are close to protected areas and were being invaded by animals while the villagers invade protected areas. The government decided not to remove them from those areas, but a few of them will be removed following assessments showing the areas are dangerous for their safety. That obviously doesn’t say the complaints will stop, or that land will be enough for those remaining, not just now but in five years.

These are some of the issues that can’t be tackled by a ministerial team and needs other ideas from a planning or visionary point of view, for instance that view that to maintain all our national parks and game reserves, let’s change Tanzania to an urban-based economy. With participation of foreign companies, all sorts of investors would change Tanzania to a vast holiday and hunting paradise, which may not at present meet with universal approval. But someone has to make a policy decision and then put it into effect. Peasants get their land, sell to conservationists and build modest units with concentrated agro-livestock parameters.

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