The Honorable Lazaro Nyalandu has been appointed at the new Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism after serving as Tanzania’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism for three years, continuing his remarkable fight against poaching and deforestation.
Nyalandu is extensively experienced and suited to this position, having served as a Member of Parliament for the Singida North constituency since 2000.
In an historic announcement made on the 23rd August 2013 in Dar es Salaam at the climax of the Africa Wildlife Trust (AWT) anti-poaching awareness ‘Walk for Elephants’, Nyalandu stated, “Corruption and immorality have reached an extreme stage and should not be tolerated. If legal action is not taken against the corrupt police officers at the airport, employees at national parks, politicians and businessmen doing the illegal ivory trade shielded by a few leaders, then we will lose all our elephants in few years to come.”
He also spoke about the government implementing ‘Operation Tokomeza,’ literally translated as Operation Terminate. This operation resulted in the suspension of 23 officials facing various accusations, including taking bribes and helping poachers, but the government halted it the controversial crackdown due to human rights abuses from some officials involved.
His Ministry recently formulated and updated the Codes of Conduct which must now be followed in all anti-poaching related operations in order to safeguard people’s rights. Tanzania was hit by an upsurge in poaching since the government halted the operation, and according to Nyalandu, “We lose two elephants every day; we cannot sit back and watch as our elephants go extinct.”
The second phase of the improved Operation Tokomeza is expected to take off soon, “We will not announce the actual start of the operation for fear of alerting the criminals,” said Nyalandu.
On hearing of the recent killing of the Black rhino in the Serengeti National Park, Nyalandu assured that the government would leave no stone unturned in the effort to arrest those involved, “We have immediately dispatched a team of 20 armed members of the Rapid Response Team; we will catch them wherever they are hiding”.
The Ministry, in collaboration with experts from within and outside the country, recently conducted the census in Selous-Mikumi and Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystems, the areas which are important strongholds for elephants in Tanzania. The results of this census indicate that the elephant populations in the two ecosystems (Selous-Mikumi and Ruaha-Rungwa) are 13,084 and 20 090, respectively.
These figures indicate a notable decline in populations in these ecosystems, compared with previous censuses. “The census results are clear evidence that poaching of elephants has reached unprecedented levels. In response to this unimpressive situation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism is determined to intensify the protection of wildlife in collaboration with other stakeholders, including defense and security forces, regional and international institutions, promote education and adopt strategies aiming at involving the public in conservation efforts.”
“In view of maintaining and enhancing conservation efforts, my Ministry is finalizing the process of establishing an autonomous body – Tanzania Wildlife Authority. In addition, the wildlife conservation laws are being reviewed in order to allow adoption of a paramilitary system among the employees of the wildlife sector,” said Nyalandu.
It is obvious Nyalandu is the right man for the job as the Minister responsible for the endangered wildlife of Tanzania. Nyalandu salutes the brave rangers who sacrifice everything to ensure wildlife are protected. On a recent visit to the MOI hospital he sent his Twitter followers updates on the health of Richard Temu following his injury at Lugalla Game Reserve while fighting poachers.
The Honourable Minister Lazaro Nyalandu is also a keen runner, organising the maiden Singida marathon in collaboration with the African Wildlife Trust. The event attracted over 400 athletes and kept the entire Singida Municipality alive as runners flocked from all over the region to participate. The marathon was initiated to promote youth engagement in athletics, one of the expanding employment opportunities in the region.
During the Ngorongoro Marathon, held annually in aid of the fight against Malaria, Nyalandu covered the entire Marathon live via his twitter handle, enabling followers to learn what was happening during this important event.
It is obvious the Honourable Minister Lazaro is an extensively talented and passionate man, and many of our hopes to putting an end to the poaching crisis that is sweeping through Tanzania, rest on his capable shoulders.