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House committee rejects poaching report

April 26
01:04 2012

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Environment, Mr James Lembeli

The Parliamentary Committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment on Thursday rejected a report presented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism on the national elephant poaching, saying it contained outdated data and failed to portray the prevailing situation.

The committee’s Chairperson, Mr James Lembeli, said that the report presented was not detailed and failed to indicate areas where the problem was rife and strategies to address the same. He said the data differed from a presentation made at an
international meeting in Doha last year and directed the ministry to re-do the work and present it to the committee soon.

“We need another clear and detailed report to indicate the real situation of elephant poaching in the country because the one you have presented is inaccurate,” he said. The committee further directed the ministry to draw immediate and sustainable anti-poaching operations measures and present before it.

The committee was also not pleased with the ongoing process of establishing Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA), saying it is too slow. According to Mr Lembeli, the establishment of TAWA was endorsed by parliament since 2009 but the government is not doing enough to ensure it becomes operational.

In her report, the Wildlife Acting Director in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Nebo Mwina, said that a total of 770 elephant carcasses were discovered at different parts of the country between the year 2008 and March this year. She said the number of elephants has gone from 250,000 to 300,000 in the 1960s to 110,000 in 2009 due to increased poaching activities in wildlife conservation areas.

The Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Mr Ezekiel Maige, said that elephant poaching is a serious problem which needs immediate measures while admitting that interregional cooperation is also important in addressing the problem. He said the ministry is organizing a sustainable anti-poaching operation that would involve all stakeholders including the general public to make sure the problem is stamped out completely.

Meanwhile, the committee has expressed concern over the government’s allocation of insufficient funds to the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development contrary to the promise given to parliament. Mr Lembeli said the treasury was supposed to provide the ministry with 100 per cent of its retention but it has allocated only 71 per cent without any clarification on that decision.

He said the 71 per cent retention allocated by the treasury has not been given fully to the ministry and it hinders the ministry from addressing various issues such as land disputes, compensation and plots allocation. The committee was also upset with treasury’s failure to send a representative to the committee on Thursday while it had received notice since March 27, this year.

By DORA TESHA, Tanzania Daily News