THE Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Khamis Kigwangalla, has temporarily halted the ongoing operations to arrest pastoralists who invade National Parks’ precincts and impounding their livestock.
Addressing residents of Loliondo and Sale divisions at Wasso Township, Dr Kigwangalla ordered park and game wardens to also restore back to their owners all cattle impounded from the operations aimed at clearing the reserved areas from pastoralists who were driving their livestock into parks for grazing.
“However, the livestock from neighbouring countries as well as those whose cases were already in court will not be released and the operation to deal with alien cattle will still proceed,” explained the Tourism Minister.
Recently, Dr Kigwangalla issued a warning over herds of more than 6,000 alien cattle, alleged to have crossed into the 4,000 square kilometres mapped within the Game Controlled Area (GCA) of Loliondo, from Narok, in the neighbouring country of Kenya for sheer purpose of grazing.
The Minister then gave an ultimatum of seven days for the reported 200 tractors that had crossed the border to Wasso, Loliondo and Malambo for farming purposes, that the machines be returned to their country of origin because they have been used to till land even around water sources, thus destroying the environment.
But, the Minister’s decision to stop ongoing operations in game parks came as a result of claims from residents of Loliondo who said that the ongoing operations were being implemented against human rights as the warders harassed the pastoralists, sometimes arresting even those grazing far away from the conservation areas.
There have been reports of cattle invading National Parks, with Serengeti being more susceptible to livestock venturing into its conserved precincts, thus threatening wildlife as well as the environment of such protected areas.
However, the Loliondo residents also lamented the fact that when they get arrested, local pastoralists are taken to face charges in Musoma instead of being arraigned in the courts that operate within their precincts of Ngorongoro and Arusha.
Mr Revocatus Palapala, the Chairman of Wasso on addressing the long-existed conflicts in Loliondo, said many of the problems in the precinct were orchestrated by people who make a living from chaos that marred the Game Controlled Area since 1992.
The Game Controlled Area is an investment Eden for a number of firms including the Ortello Business Corporation (OBC), the giant hunting entity from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ‘And Beyond,’ through its Kleins Camp Lodge and Thompson Safaris among others.