Tanzania is famous for its rich variety of wildlife found in its more than a dozen national parks and game reserves.
These are scattered in various parts of the country, but the famous ones are a handful. They include the Serengeti National Park, world-renowned in part for the annual migration of wildlife from Tanzania to Kenya and vice versa.
There are also the tree-climbing lions of Manyara National Park, the chimpanzees of Gombe Island, the jumbos of Ruaha National Park and so forth.
These are but a few of these wild animals which attract close to a million tourists to this land of the towering Kilimanjaro annually.
However, Tanzania’s good name is being spoiled by incidents of wildlife poaching. Of late, these have increased so much that they are no longer scoops for newspapers.
The reasons for wildlife poaching may be many, including that of people wanting to get rich quickly, without sweating too much.
All it needs is for someone to pluck a gun, search for a rhino or jumbo in the bush and kill it. The reward one gets from selling the trophies, if lucky, is so attractive that poaching has lured many people to try their luck, as it were.
Several measures have been taken to deal with poaching which annihilates our wildlife at such a speed that the country stands to lose its abundant wildlife. One of these was the largely mishandled ‘Tokomeza Ujangili’, which resulted in the resignation of four cabinet ministers.
But we think that all is not lost in the war against poaching. The good news is that Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) plans to transform the way it operates from the civilian model to the paramilitary one.
It thinks that in this way it will boost its efforts in the anti-poaching war. Yes, indeed, let TANAPA try this method of transforming itself. For, apart from looking inwards it can utilise the big reserve of youths who have gone through the National Service (JKT).
Since its resumption a few years ago, JKT has recruited thousands of youths who underwent paramilitary training. Some of them may have gone for further studies, for they had completed Form Six.
Yet there might be others who neither went for further studies nor got any gainful employment in the government or private sector.
These are the ones we are talking about. Since they have undergone their share of paramilitary training they are surely the right candidates for the jobs. We dare say that TANAPA should give preference to recruiting these youths and turn to others only after we are done with JKT ‘graduates’.
This would be one way of assisting the hordes of youths who have undergone mandatory training under JKT but have since lain idle.
Some may have been doing odd jobs here and there just to make ends meet. But there may be others who have resorted to crime to fend for themselves.
By recruiting them, TANAPA would not only reduce youth unemployment in our country but will not have to incur extra costs training them for security and related jobs.