Just mentioning the Serengeti invokes images of natural beauty and untouched wilderness, yet once again the government and foreign investors have put money over everything and have announced the construction of an international airport in the national park. The American company; Grummet Reserves Ltd. funded by billionaire Paul Tudor Jones signed a memorandum of understanding with former Tanzanian Minister for Infrastructural Development Basil Mramba (now Minister for Industry, Trade and Marketing) to construct a international airport in the reserve and a highway connecting the Arusha and Mara regions to the park, which will involve a main road cutting through the Serengeti plains.
In spite of protests by local and International non-governmental organizations, and public outcry, it seems that once again the people’s voices will fall on deaf government ears. The Director General of the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) made a statement saying “that development of human activities in Serengeti would restrict the movement of animals to Maasai Mara in Kenya and reduce gene flow, thereby impacting negatively on their population and species.”
"To maintain biodiversity and ecosystem functions in both the short and long-term it is necessary to maintain habitat connectivity so that individual animals can move freely across the landscape," he said, adding that the international airport, the highway and other linear developments within the park would reduce and eliminate animal movements and habitat connectivity.
Mr Bigurube said the Serengeti ecosystem is facing the problems that much of the world has already experienced - habitat reduction and fragmentation at a variety of spatial scales that has been widely acknowledged as a primary cause of the decline of many species worldwide such as that in the Mikumi National Park in Morogoro region.
He said experts from Grumet Reserves had already made their feasibility studies for the two projects without involving Tanapa. The project is supposed to "lift Tanzania onto a new and much higher path of growth and job creation."
Foreign exploiters with money and hungry government officials sure have become good at bullshitting. It is surprising how even with independent research done; finding that the project is a bad idea the government can still allow the project to go through.
This is disgusting, and it is up to Tanzanians, Kenyans and anyone who believes in sustaining the few areas of the world that have been untouched by destructive human thumbs to speak out and condemn the project. I would call you all to protest and march to the state house, however a) Government wouldn’t let it happen and b) We are a passive people who can’t be bothered to go out of our ways and do something righteous. Instead I urge you all to post a comment, simply with your name, showing your view that the decision to construct an Airport is wrong and against public opinion. What we do with that list will then depend upon us.
Make the first step, speak out! Please also feel free to comment in the positive, if you feel the infrastructure project is justified.
NB: Some of the funding for the project is coming from the Millennium Challenges Fund.