Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki has been tasked with defending the country’s wildlife, but he has found himself in slippery ground without the necessary resources for to do it. He is fighting against corruption, advanced surveillance and professional espionage.
It has become increasingly obvious that the decimation of big game, especially rhino and elephants, is operating on a high level of criminal organization. International reports say that wildlife trophies have replaced piracy on seagoing vessels as the means to collect funds for Al Shabaab wars.
There are also reliable reports that within the Congo and into the forests of South Sudan, Chad, and up to the Central African Republic, the now fighters of the Lord’s Resistance Army build sporadic camps and harvest game trophies. When US drones start being seen overhead, they just move on.
Unmet incomes have led to the proliferation of officials engaging in poaching activities. That is the only conclusion we can reach in the face of repeated reports from environmental activists visiting villagers in various areas especially around the Loliondo and Ngorongoro precincts, who say that uniformed warders are seen shooting at elephants or rhino.
While impersonation could work for criminals robbing a bank in police uniform, why should tusk harvesters need game warden’s uniforms? Now the minister’s time bomb that regional crime officials in Arusha know more than they are saying about the carnage in the northern safari zone starts making sense.
A breakdown of governance is also being experienced in other areas, as criminality in one area affects the mood in government generally, as all branches finally depend on the police and courts to ensure that order is kept. Governance imperatives of breaking local and international law sideline the police.
Having sidelined the police in the area of wildlife, it is not difficult to see they are sidelined in the sphere of drugs, and vice versa. The higher the pressures for illegality, the more such activities are conducted with impunity. So despite the minister’s brave face on the matter, the question is: can it start with the Regional Commissioner’s Office, really?
What can be surmised is that the political and economic system is passing through a crude phase. Financial needs are greater than loyalty to the ethics they are expected to serve, thus the carnage and complaints as to who is responsible.
Social science knows what happens when lawlessness reigns: a revolution, but peaceful or violent?
SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY, 20th October 2013