MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) have unanimously approved government proposal to change part of Selous Game Reserve to form a new national park— Nyerere National Park— and transform the entire reserve into a conservation area.
Legislators across the political divide agreed with the proposal to slice 30,893 square kilometres out of 50,000 square kilometres of Selous Game Reserve to form the national park that will be named after Mwalimu Julius Nyerere as read in Parliament by Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Khamis Kigangwalla. T
he minister said to change the status of part of the largest game reserve in Tanzania to the national park will improve conservation of ecosystem of wildlife, plants and fish breeding areas to boost domestic tourism and enhance the economy of neighbouring communities.
He said formation of a national park out of Selous Game Reserve will also boost national income as the national park will attract tourists.
Parliamentary Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Tourism suggested that the whole reserve and neighbouring areas such as Kilombero Nature Forest Reserve be turned into the conservation area and named after Mwalimu Nyerere to give him a befitting title, a suggestion that was supported by the opposition camp.
Committee Deputy Chairperson Kemilembe Lwota (Special Seats— CCM) argued that carving the national park from Selous Game Reserve will overburden Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA) which has to support loss making national parks.
TANAPA manages the nation’s 19 national parks after the government upgraded Biharamulo, Burigi, Kimisi, Ibanda and Rumanyika and has the mandate to conserve and manage wildlife in Tanzania as well as enforce the related laws and regulations in the industry.
Only three national parks— Serengeti, Tarangire and Mount Kilimanjaro— generate enough profits to finance their operations and support other national parks, which don’t produce enough to fund their operations.
The opposition camp proposed for the entire Selous Game Reserve to be converted to the conservation area and be named after Nyerere.
“It should be known that the opposition camp had no problem and does not oppose the good intention of the government to honour the father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere by using his name on things with national status as the new national park that is to be established.