THE State has auctioned 1,115 head of cattle seized for entering the country in contravention to the laws of the land.
The event, conducted by Meripalento Brokers at Mgagao, saw cattle said to have originated from Laitoktok, Kajiado County, in Kenya being auctioned. The sale took place after the government sought an order to that effect from the court. A crackdown against cattle that enter the country illegally was ordered by the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Mr Luhaga Mpina, recently.
Animal Disease Act No 17 of 2003 that was assented to by President Benjamin Mkapa on January 30, 2004 makes provision for control and prevention of animal diseases, monitoring and for other related matters.
It restricts any person to move an animal on foot or by use of a vehicle outside the area of jurisdiction without a permit, or move an animal or animal products or animal wastes from outside the country or introduce animals into any area without a permit.
About 4,000 cattle entered the country but the rest were taken out mysteriously after owners became aware of the operation that was conducted by the ministry and assisted by an airplane from the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa).
In another operation, about 2,000 cattle have been seized and an order is awaited on their fate. This Monday, another operation starts countrywide against cattle that have penetrated the country’s borders against the law.
Mwanga District Court issued a permit for auctioning the animals after it satisfied itself that the cattle entered the country unlawfully. Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner (RC), Ms Anna Mghwira said the cattle that stayed in the country for about a month were auctioned after all procedures were completed.
The RC, who earlier on expressed concerns that Mwanga District authorities did not offer enough cooperation in the beginning, said the number of cattle seized was 1,115 and not 1,325 as earlier announced, adding that there were calculation errors. She said money earned from the sale enters the government’s coffers while district council would get its tax as stipulated by the law.
Ms Mghwira said the seizure, nationalisation and auctioning of the cattle was done as a strong signal to foreign herders to respect and adhere to Tanzanian laws. She said that even under the East African Community (EAC)partnership, it is not allowed for herds of cattle to cross from one country to another.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Maria Mashingo, said seizure of the cattle would be sustainable whenever they enter the country illegally, pledging that the exercise is being executed without fear or favour.
She saw taking out cattle from wildlife areas of Kagera Region such as Burigi and Biharamulo while the upcoming operation will target Songwe, Rukwa, Katavi, Tanga and Arusha regions.
She warned citizens that they should not, for any reason, welcome herders from other countries to bring their cattle as that amounts to economic sabotage.
Winding up his Kilimanjaro tour late Tuesday, Minister Mpina said that the grace period given to owners of cattle was drawing closer and that come October 23, respective regional authorities should seize cattle, keep them and take legal action against perpetrators.
Mr Mpina, who moved to the livestock and fisheries portfolio from Vice President’s Office (Environment) in the recent cabinet reshuffle, warned that the government was on course to initiate a second 15-day operation from Monday to ensure that all cattle from neighbouring countries are seized.