Mchengerwa talks tough on corrupt conservation officers

NATURAL Resources and Tourism Minister, Mohammed Mchengerwa yesterday talked tough on conservation officers who solicit bribe to enable livestock to graze inside protected areas.

Mr Mchengerwa said he was made aware that some dishonest officers were colluding with livestock keepers in allowing them to encroach protected areas.

According to the minister, the government will not turn a blind eye on such corrupt public servants.

“Anyone found culpable will face the music, and will be squarely dealt with,” said the minister on the climax of the Kilimanjaro National Park 50th anniversary, here on Thursday.

The visibly irked minister equally directed the agencies and institutions under his docket to weed out such servants who he said were jeopardising the country’s natural resources.

The ministry’s assertion comes on the hot heels of reports of some big shots who have been driving their livestock into protected areas, putting national parks and game reserves in peril.

Such practices have also seen some water bodies, such as the Great Ruaha dry up.

In the same vein, Mr Mchengerwa urged conservation agencies to continuously engage communities and be ready to listen to their concerns.

The minister challenged the institutions and agencies under his watch to conduct frequent meetings with the communities.

“This is the only way you would be able to resolve their concerns amicably,” he said.

The minister further urged Tanzanians to get out of their comfort zones and promote Mt Kilimanjaro which was in 1987 designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO).

He said Tanzanians should hold their heads high in pride because the Africa’s rooftop was found in the country.

“To cap this, we should consider reasons of climbing it,” suggested the Minister.

The founding father Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere commissioned tourism related activities at KINAPA on June 4, 1977.

The park has seen its gates rising to eight from the single Marangu entry point, back then.

Every year, a total of 50,000 climbers from different parts of the globe, scale world’s highest free standing mountain.

Yesterday’s event saw the family of Mwalimu Nyerere honoured with a special award for his role in promoting conservation in the country.

Also on the list of awardees was General (rtd) Mrisho Sarakikya, who has the most Mt Kilimanjaro climb under his belt.

The Mtui brothers, led by Faustine Lyatonga Mtui were also feted as the oldest guides of Mount Kilimanjaro, while Yohane Kinyala Lauwo was posthumously honoured as the African to guide a climber to the summit.

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