VP forms task force to save Ruaha River ecology

Vice-President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan (front row centre), in a group photo with members of a special task force to salvage the Great Ruaha River ecology shortly after launching it in Iringa Region yesterday. (Photo by VPO)

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THE Vice-President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, has launched a special task force to salvage the Great Ruaha River ecology from rampant environmental degradation.

“The Great Ruaha River ecology is in bad shape. We need fast and immediate intervention to address the situation that is why the task force has all the needed experts from the government and development partners, who have the mandate on policy and administrative decisions,” the Vice- President said, before directing the force to come up with means to change the situation.

She added,“We need a lasting solution over the matter. Gone are the days when we will issue orders without people taking action. I want this task force to work day and night to come up with the best result within a short period.”

She also advised them to incorporate other stakeholders to develop a culture of accountability and ownership of the ecology in the Great Ruaha River. The 13-member team was tasked to undertake immediate steps and develop innovative strategies to address the situation and will submit its report to the Vice-President next month on recommendations of the best ways to manage environment in the area.

The Minister in the Vice- President’s Office (Union and Environment), Mr January Makamba, pointed out human activities including agriculture and fishery as major factors for environmental degradation in the Great Ruaha River which supplies 22 per cent of the total flow of the Rufiji catchment system.

“About 80 per cent of hydroelectric power generation in the country depends on Ruaha River basin as it flows to Kidatu and Mtera dams,” he observed. The Minister noted that the decreased flows have been recorded since 1990s causing sections of the River to completely dry up in 1993 and other dry years.

The task force members are: Director of Coordination and Policies in the Vice-President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, Dr Andrew Komba; Director of Environment, Mr Richard Muyungi and Engineer Seth Lusemwa from Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

Others are: acting Director General in the National Land Use Planning Commission, Dr Stephen Nindi; Land Commissioner Mary Makondo; Rufiji River Basin Board Director Idris Msuya; Njombe Regional Administrative Secretary, Jackson Saitabau and Iringa Regional Administrative Secretary, Wamoja Dickolagwa.

The remaining members are: The Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) Director General, Dr Allan Kijazi; Attorney General George Masaju; the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) acting Director General, Dr Tito Mwinuka and the National Environment Management Council Director General Bonaventura Baya.

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