Tanzania: Govt Commits to End Hunting Block Disputes

Dodoma — MINISTRY of Natural Resources and Tourism has vowed to end the disputes in hunting blocks, including the long lasting conflict around Lake Natron in Longido that involved the government and Green Mile Company.

Speaking at a mediation session that included the conflicting parties in Dodoma, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Dr Damas Ndumbaro said the conflict must come to an end immediately for the good sake of the sector.

“My intention of calling this arbitration meeting, is to seek the answers for this dispute; everyone should be free to express the truth about what happened, so I could make the right judgment,” Dr Ndumbaro told the players in the conflict who included Longido District Commissioner, Chairman of Longido District Council, Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) and other hunting stakeholders.

The conflict took a new dawn in 2020, after the Longido District security committee expelled the Green Mile from the Lake Natron hunting blocks and closed down the company’s camp, being an implementation of the directive given by the then Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla.

It was explained that the Green Mile company has been in a conflict for several years with at least 23 villages surrounding the block.

It is further alleged that the company owe the villages a sum of 350m/-, which the villages were supposed to receive as per agreement between the parties.

Issuing his defence, Longido District Commissioner Mr Frank Mwaisumbe said apart from that accumulated money, the company also has been accused of violating the law of the land.

According to Mr Mwaisumbe, the company failed to control poaching after the emerged information of the killings of 36 giraffes that prompted the then minister, Dr Hamis Kigwangalla, to announce the government’s decision to expel Green Mile after violating hunting procedures on 2019.

Mr Mwaisumbe added that the owner also reluctantly refused to attend several arbitration meetings that planned to resolve the matter before he (Mwaisumbe) ordered the Police Force to vacate the company on that block.

“The resources in Longido is under your custody, whoever is given a licence to operate in those hunting blocks must have a good relations with surrounded villages, after several attempts to settle the tempo of this conflict; I decided to implement the directives of the then then minister to close Green Mile’s camp to force the company to obey the law,” he told the minister.

However, the accusation was denied by the company’s owner Mr Awadh Abdallah, who assumed that the tussle was fuelled up by his competitors on hunting business around Lake Natron.

Mr Awadh told the Minister that all accusations against his company were false and baseless and he claimed that his company complied with all laws and regulations that guide the sector.

However, after listening to both conflicting parties, Dr Ndumbaro adjourned the meeting until April 16th this year, where he vowed to issue the judgment on the pertaining encounter.

“After this session, I am going to compile all the evidence from both parties, the past judgment from the former minister, then, I will issue my judgment whatever side will not be satisfied with that, the room is open for appeal as directed in Wildlife Conservation Act,” he said.