By John Waluye
Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, has appealed to Tanzanians to exercise patience and give his ministry time before it exposes all people involved in poaching despite the suspension of 'Operation Tokomeza.'
Amb. Kagasheki, who was on a working visit of Masasi District on Monday, made the comment after being shown part of the consignment of 89 elephant tusks worth about 1.1bn/-, which were impounded during the just-suspended operation.
They were impounded in a salon car on October 29, just about one kilometre from Masasi township, where a road checkpoint had been set.
During the visit to the district, Mr Kagasheki was also shown part of the haulage of 4,856 pieces of sawn timber, which were illegally harvested and impounded during the operation in the area, a situation the minister said was intolerable since it can lead the country into a desert if no concrete action is taken.
Speaking at the Lukwika-Lumesule-Msanjesi Game Reserve Office, where the impounded tusks are being kept, the minister called on all Tanzanians to be the guardians of their natural resources for their own good and that of the future generations.
"Even if the operation has been suspended, we should think it over again as the poaching and illegal logging is still going on," he pointed out.
Last Saturday, just days after the government had announced the suspension of 'Operation Tokomeza' following complaints by some MPs that the operation was victimising the people, three suspects of Chinese origin were arrested at Mikocheni in Dar es Salam with 706 pieces of tusks, whose value is yet to be established. More....