By Pius Rugonzibwa
The government plans to establish Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TWA) soon, charged with the security of wildlife in all the game and forest reserves in the country.
The authority, which will be given the leeway to employ dedicated and fresh graduates to work as military officers in a newly initiated Wildlife Force, now awaits Parliamentary endorsement any time this year.
The Wildlife Force will be independent with its own chief commanding officer.
Coming with full authority to hire, fire and carry out all entrusted official functions as opposed to the present set-up under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the new body will basically be charged with eliminating poaching and other acts harmful to the country's natural resources.
Natural Resources and Tourism Deputy Minister, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, said apart from being independent and autonomous, the government will also make sure it sets aside adequate budget for the sustainable operations of the new agency.
He said it was planned that the agency staff will be highly motivated with attractive salaries and remunerations for effective and sustainable operations in ensuring the country's natural resources, now under threats, are well protected.
"The new authority will be given full autonomy to set its own salaries and other packages in order to motivate its staff undertake their duties effectively and sustainably. Its set-up will be like the present Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA)," he said.
However, shortage of human resources in many forest and game reserves was likely to pose a serious stumbling block and affect their daily functions, but the deputy minister said measures would be taken to redress the matter.
He mentioned some of the steps in the pipeline as employing forest and game rangers directly from wildlife colleges to fill the growing gaps left by the existing diminishing manpower, as many were about to retire from public service.
The ministry estimates that over 4,000 new staff would be needed to cater for the demand in over 20 game reserves and 50 forest reserves across the country.
In his New Year message to the country, President Jakaya Kikwete made it clear that the fight against poaching and sabotage of the country's natural resources would be intensified and that phase two of the operation would commence soon.
However, Mr Nyalandu said earlier that the ministry was set to carefully work on some of the findings of the Parliamentary probe team report on 'Operation Tokomeza' separate from a special judicial team which would be set up in due course, in order to carry out intensive enquiries on the aftermath of the operation for administrative action on the culprits.
"We are unable to come up with the estimated resources to be allocated for the second phase of the operation until the judicial team finalises its work first," he told the 'Daily News.'
But even as all other arrangements for the next phase are going on, Deputy Minister Nyalandu hinted that it has been decided and declared that the year 2014 would be dedicated for fighting poaching and that deliberate measures would be taken towards realising the goal.