The East African - - NEWS -

against the takeover of the 4,000-square-kilo­me­tre block.

Dr Kig­wan­galla said the com­pany will never be awarded an­other hunt­ing li­cence, and sus­pended di­rec­tor of wildlife Alexan­der Son­gorwa for al­legedly creat­ing a syn­di­cate of gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in the min­istry who have been com­pro­mised.

The land at the cen­tre of the con­tro­versy is five hours’ drive north of Arusha in the Ngoron­goro Crater and close to the Serengeti Na­tional Park.

Dr Kig­wan­galla said that the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions against OBC have ex­isted for many years and it was now time for the min­istry to take ac­tion.

Gov­ern­ment records seen by The Eastafrican show that the rul­ing Chama cha Mapin­duzi party re­ceived fi­nan­cial do­na­tions amount­ing to thou­sands of dol­lars from the royal fam­ily.

Un­til early 2014, do­na­tions to min­istries and gov­ern­ment paras­tatals were only al­lowed if there was proof that they wouldn’t im­pair their in­de­pen­dence. The cir­cu­lar was how­ever amended so that do­na­tions would be made to the gov­ern­ment cof­fers rather than a spe­cific min­istry or project.

Ac­cord­ing to the records, in 1994, the CCM re­ceived $32,000 in do­na­tions and the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Tourism re­ceived more than $2 mil­lion.

Chief op­po­si­tion par­lia­men­tary whip Tundu Lissu, who has mon­i­tored the is­sue for over 20 years, says the do­na­tions may be the rea­son why the gov­ern­ment and the rul­ing party kept the con­tract un­der wraps.

More than 2,796 an­i­mals and birds were killed in the 2007 and 2009 hunt­ing sea­sons last­ing four months each, with fears among the lo­cal peo­ple and con­ser­va­tion­ists that the an­i­mals could in­clude endangered species.

Gov­ern­ment re­ports show that an­i­mals that were hunted in­cluded ba­boons, buf­falo, hye­nas, lions and leop­ards.

The fam­ily may have killed many thou­sands of an­i­mals and birds in the 20-year pe­riod that the com­pany has been op­er­at­ing in the area.

Tan­za­nia granted the con­ces­sion to the Dubai leader for wildlife con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment in the Lo­liondo Game Con­trolled Area in Novem­ber 1992, but the lo­cal Maa­sai peo­ple have since been com­plain­ing that they were never in­volved in the process de­spite liv­ing in the area.

Un­der the agree­ment, lo­cal pas­toral­ists were al­lowed to

Hunt­ing blocks in Tan­za­nia are con­fined to 38 wildlife re­serves, con­trolled game re­serves and open ar­eas. Selous Game Re­serve is the big­gest hunt­ing area, cov­er­ing 55,000 square km in south­ern Tan­za­nia. The block hunt­ing li­cence fee is $60,000 per

graze within the con­ces­sion area. How­ever, el­ders from six vil­lages of the Lo­liondo Game Con­trolled Area say they are not al­lowed into the block awarded to the royal fam­ily and have to leave the area when­ever the royal fam­ily ar­rives for hunt­ing ex­pe­di­tions.

They fur­ther claim that OBC de­nies them ac­cess to wa­ter and graz­ing land on the grounds that peo­ple from the eight sur­round­ing vil­lages are tres­pass­ing on the con­ces­sion area.

The Maa­sai el­ders say they have co-ex­isted with wildlife for gen­er­a­tions dur­ing which the en­vi­ron­ment has never been dam­aged.

Mean­while, Tan­za­nia has can­celled li­cences and sus­pended al­lo­ca­tion of new blocks for hunt­ing that were due next year, prompt­ing protests from lobby groups that sup­port the ac­tiv­ity.

Hunters had al­ready booked sa­faris for 2018, and the change could un­der­mine rev­enues from the sec­tor.

Most of the book­ings were from the US, where a hunter pays be­tween $14,000 and $20,000 for an ex­pe­di­tion last­ing 10-21 days.

The Tan­za­nia Hunt­ing Op­er­a­tors As­so­ci­a­tion (Ta­hoa) and the Tan­za­nia Pro­fes­sional Hunters As­so­ci­a­tion (TPHA) said they were yet to re­ceive a for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the gov­ern­ment.

Ta­hoa and TPHA sec­re­tary gen­eral Michael An­gelides told The Eastafrican that the move would af­fect pro­fes­sional hunt­ing, whose pro­ceeds sup­port the war against poach­ing.

Pro­fes­sional hunt­ing in Tan­za­nia is reg­u­lated by the Wildlife Act 2009 and the Tourist Hunt­ing Reg­u­la­tions of 2015.

“Re­vo­ca­tion or sus­pen­sion of a hunt­ing li­cence should be car­ried out in ac­cor­dance with the Wildlife Act 2009 un­less changes are made by par­lia­ment,” Mr An­gelin­des said.

The hunt­ing sec­tor con­trib­utes 90 per cent of the money used by the Tan­za­nia Wildlife Authority.

Last week, Dr Kig­wan­galla an­nounced fresh al­lo­ca­tion of wild game hunt­ing blocks in game re­serves across Tan­za­nia. He also can­celled new hunt­ing li­cences that were to be re­leased in Jan­uary 2018.

He said that the gov­ern­ment had given wildlife con­ser­va­tion ex­perts 60 days to re­view and ad­vise on the best way for al­lo­ca­tion of hunt­ing blocks.

Re­vo­ca­tion or sus­pen­sion of a hunt­ing li­cence should be car­ried out in ac­cor­dance with the Wildlife Act 2009.” Ta­hoa and TPHA sec­re­tary gen­eral Michael An­gelides

— Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Apoli­nari Tairo

Pic­ture: File

Wildlife at Lo­liondo in Tan­za­nia. The coun­try has with­drawn a hunt­ing con­ces­sion for the Dubai royal fam­ily.

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