By Pius Rugonzibwa
Mwanza — THE Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) has asked for the police force's support being a fresh move targeting to reinforce security in its 13 parks countrywide.
Tanapa Director General, Mr Allan Kijazi said that the new attempt is important as criminal gangs are coming with new strategies to sabotage the country's natural resources, including the wildlife conservation areas.
He said the Authority will meet all Regional Police Commanders during the arranged Zonal meetings where it will gather views and strategies of how better the conservation areas totaling 30 per cent of the country's land will be secured.
"We have such a huge portion of land dedicated for conservation activities that is not well marked. Collaboration with stakeholders like police will give us fresh inputs on how we have to move forward and reinforce security," he said.
Regular consultations with the security organs, said Mr Kijazi, will be maintained for sustainable battle and eventual elimination of the gangs like poachers before they get out of hand.
According to Mr Kijazi, plans are also afoot to revisit international agreements like the Lusaka Task Force Agreement that calls for close partnership among neighbouring countries with conservation areas like Tanzania.
The Mwanza Regional Police Commander, Mr Valentino Mlowola, said as he spoke on behalf of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) that for years, the police force has been blamed for assisting poachers saying it is high time the allegations are cleared.
He said the force was ready to collaborate with Tanapa by using its wide range of experience and expertise in dealing with criminals. The RPC said new skills of investigation and intelligence was needed to curb poaching and the police force can use its network to make sure that the job is well done.
He admitted, however, that some of police officers are alleged to assist poachers sabotage natural resources and termed it as one of the challenges they are facing.
"It is true we have a challenge where some of our officers are unethical in executing their functions. But, using our well connected network, it is easy to uncover them and such meetings will equally help us achieve that," he said.
The Mwanza Regional Commissioner, Mr Evarist Ndikilo, said Tanzania's wildlife conservation area is one of the biggest in the world and that calls for maximum security to make sure it remains safer.
But, the fact that the area is not well marked should be a wakeup call and an issue stakeholders are to address immediately. He said sober minds and fresh schools of thoughts are needed today for permanent solutions of sabotage of the country's natural resources.
The RC said records show that Tanzania is the second in the world for having many tourists attractions after Brazil, insisting that it is high time all stakeholders are involved in ensuring their security.
"Lack of proper security to our areas housing our natural attractions has contributed in attracting gangs like poachers hoping this meeting will look into this problem as well," he said in a speech read on his behalf by the Acting Regional Administrative Secretary, Mr Ndaro Kulwijila.