IN recognition of the important role former presidents played in conserving peacocks at the State House, President John Magufuli yesterday gave 100 prestigious birds to them.
"These birds have a long history...we had no such species in the country; they were brought by the late Father of the Na- tion, Julius Nyerere during his administration," he said.
Dr Magufuli said the birds had been well cared for by all presidents who followed after Nyerere, a factor that prompted him to reward them so that they can be conserved in their gardens.
Former presidents who were pres- ent at the handing over ceremony were Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Benjamin Mkapa and Dr Jakaya Kikwete who were given 25 peacocks each.
The late Mwalimu Nyerere was represented by Mama Maria Nyerere who also received 25 peacocks.
Ex-President Kikwete who moved the vote of thanks on behalf of former presidents, said he developed an interest in the impressive birds several years ago.
“I liked the birds since I was still at the State House but transferring them to my area would have raised questions as some people would have claimed that I had illegally picked them,” he said.
He appreciated President Magufuli’s gesture, promising to take care of them.
For his part, Director of Presidential Communications Mr Gerson Msigwa said that the peacocks were brought to Chamwino from Dar es Salaam's State House garden.
"Efforts were made to ensure that they multiply in number so that they can be taken to various areas in the country, including states lodges," he said.
He said that when President Magufuli assumed office in 2015, there were only 403 peacocks at the State House in Dar es Salaam but the number has increased to 2,260.
Mr Msigwa said that various efforts were made to increase the number of peacocks and other ani- mals, noting that to date there were 500 peacocks at Chamwino State House.
The former presidents e pressed their gratitude to Dr Magufuli for giving them the birds.
They also commended him for measures he had been taking for the development of the country.
Showing how peacocks were prestigious birds, last August Dr Magufuli presented a gift token of four birds to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The fancy birds were presented to the Head of State at State House, Nairobi, by former Tanzania High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr Pindi Hazara Chana, who also delivered a goodwill message from Magufuli.
According to a statement by the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU), the birds were gifted to President Kenyatta by his host during his private visit to Tanzania in what President Mugufuli termed as a sign of deep respect and appreciation for the Kenyan leader.