2013 has been a disastrous year for Africa’s rhinoceros and elephant populations.
South Africa has seen a record number of rhinos poached and in other countries Africa’s elephants are being killed at an unprecedented rate and Tanzania has been one of the countries worst affected.
Conservationists and campaigners have been in overdrive; raising public awareness through relentless media campaigns, lobbying and haranguing governments to put pressure on the Asian nations that account for the vast bulk of the demand that drives the trade in illegal ivory and rhino horn and desperately urging the everyone in the countries where this catastrophic poaching is taking place to do everything within their power to take the fight to the poachers.
It is a stark indicator of the scale of the problem that, despite all these efforts poachers seem to be operating with impunity in many countries and nothing that is being done seems to be able to put the brakes on the slaughter.
Tanzania’s anti-poaching shambles
But, though countries like Botswana, South Africa and Kenya can demonstrate vigorous efforts and a real will to take on the poachers, Tanzania’s efforts are in total disarray.
Wipe Out wiped out
The country’s flagship anti poaching operation ‘Operation Tokomeza (wipe out) has been suspended after serious and sustained human rights abuses by the forces tasked with implementing the policy and after recriminations have rumbled on for over a month, 4 government ministers have now been sacked for their part in the fiasco. The ministers are Mr Kagasheki (Natural Resources and Tourism), Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi (Home Affairs), Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha (Defence and National Service) and Mr Mathayo David Mathayo (Livestock Development and Fisheries).
President Kikwete trys to stop the rot Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete addressed the country’s parliament and pledged that the nationwide anti-poaching drive will resume after assessing and rectifying the weaknesses in the campaign implementation. He condemned dishonest officials whom he accused of tarnishing the well-intentioned drive, vowing to put to task all those responsible for the irregularities. More....