In a milestone development, the East African Court of Justice has declared that constructing a paved asphalt road across the world famous Serengeti National Park is unlawful. The Judges have restrained the Tanzanian Government from constructing the road. The judgement in essence confirms that the prestigious Serengeti ecosystem is an invaluable world heritage site and that deserves optimal protection and restraint from high impact development that can interfere with the functions of the ecosystem to humankind.
The rising human population in western Serengeti National Park is putting the world's greatest annual wildlife migration, across East Africa's plains, under threat. The annual migration of two million wildebeest across the Serengeti and Maasai Mara reserve is a key tourist attraction that generates millions of dollars annually.
Tanapa, Tanzania National Parks is working on the possibility of coming up with live TV programmes that will give opportunity for Tanzanians to view the annual global attraction, the wildebeest migration between the Serengeti and Maasai Mara national parks. "...Tanzanians deserve to enjoy their natural surroundings...God sent" explained Johnson Manase, Tanapa's manager of tourism services, adding that observing these natural phenomena is opportune for learning experiences and appreciating the ecosystem."
In March 2011, the German government made an important announcement - It acknowledged that there were legitimate development needs for communities around the park. So in order to avert a road across the Serengeti, it offered funding to build local roads and other projects for these communities. Equally important, it offered to help build a southern route around the Serengeti.
During that same time, the World Bank said it was ready to help finance an alternate route, provided that the Tanzanian government made such a request.
Tanzania's appeal to block a case against the construction of a highway across the Serengeti National Park was dismissed on Thursday by the East African Court of Justice. The Appellate Division of the regional court ruled that EACJ has full jurisdiction to hear the case because the park was part of the transnational ecosystem straddling Kenya and Tanzania.
Tanzania and Uganda have agreed that a proposed joint commercial rail track from Tanga to Arusha and Musoma and onward to Kampala, would not cut through the Serengeti national park, ending 12-months of speculation.
As it stands now, the $1.9 billion railway line to link Tanga port and the Lake Victoria side dock of Port Bell close to Kampala via Musoma port, would route nearly 100 km south of the Serengeti to protect the ecosystem.
In what is a victory for environmentalists, scientists, tourism, and the largest land migration on Earth, the Tanzanian government has cancelled a commercial road that would have cut through the northern portion of the Serengeti National Park. According to scientists the road would have severed the migration route of 1.5 million wildebeest and a half million other antelope and zebra, in turn impacting the entire ecosystem of the Serengeti plains.
Nairobi — The Obama administration is urging the Tanzanian government to reconsider plans to build a road through the Serengeti wildlife reserve that environmentalists say will threaten the wildebeest migration into Kenya. Johnnie Carson, the top US diplomat for Africa, told reporters last week that he raised concerns about the road in meetings with Tanzanian officials in April. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may raise the issue again when she holds scheduled talks later this month in Tanzania with President Jakaya Kikwete, Mr Carson added.
Villagers surrounding the Serengeti National Park have called on the government to remove the park from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage list. Speaking to The Citizen, the chairman of Ikoma Robanda Village, Mr Mrobanda Japani, said since its listing 30 years ago there is nothing significant in development those surrounding the park can show contrary to the world heritage objectives.
Nairobi — Pressure is growing on the Tanzanian government to accept a compromise over the proposal for a controversial highway through the Serengeti National park. The road pledge was a key campaign promise by President Jakaya Kikwete in the 2005 election but it has provoked fury from conservationists around the world.
The great herds of wildebeest are stirring again after the calving season in the low-grass plains between the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. The young wildebeest are now strong enough on their four feet to follow their mothers, as the age old trek in search of pastures once again begins. This migration has been happening in times of plenty and times of little for generations upon generations.
It was reported overnight that Tanzanian President Kikwete demanded the fast tracking of a proposed soda ash extraction plant at Lake Natron, when visiting the Ministry of Industry and Trade. This confirms a long-harbored and long-suggested suspicion that the construction of the equally-controversial highway through the Serengeti is primarily motivated and driven by industrial and mining considerations. The Tanzania government has been saying that the highway is "in the interest of the people." Perhaps the public did not realize that the government meant just a few of the poeple.
A network of local civil society organisations yesterday filed a fresh petition against the government's intention to construct a highway across the Serengeti National Park.Mazingira Network (Manet) said the proposed highway would compromise the ecological integrity of the park which is also an important world heritage site.
Dar es Salaam. The opposition to the road planned through the northern part of Serengeti National Park took a new dimension yesterday with organisations holding various activities all over the world against the project.
The controversy surrounding the proposed tarmac road across the Serengeti National Park, took a new turn yesterday when Tanzanian tour operators strongly opposed it. The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO), a powerful lobby group for tour companies, said the road would impact negatively on the tourism industry. ATTA, which has been active in distributing concerns on this matter for months, pledged to "support any action to find a workable solution to avoid the senseless desecration of this famous National Park."