Nape, Zitto question: Where is the environmental assessment for Stiegler's Gorge project?

Tuesday May 22 2018

Kigoma Urban - ACT wazalendo MP Zitto Kabwe

Kigoma Urban - ACT wazalendo MP Zitto Kabwe raises concern over government’s decision to cut trees in Selous Game Reserve to pave way for construction Stiegler's Gorge hydropower plant in Parliament. Photo | Edwin Mjwahuzi 

By Alawi Masare @AMasare malawi@tz.nationmedia.com

Dodoma. Two MPs have expressed their concerns over government’s decision to cut trees in Selous Game Reserve to pave way for construction Stiegler's Gorge hydropower plant. 

Debating the budget of the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism on Tuesday, they asked the government to wait for the strategic environmental impact assessment. 

Nape Nnauye (Mtama-CCM) said that on April 25, 2018 Tanzania Forest Services announced a tender to cut trees in an areas estimated to be the size of Dar es Salaam within Selous. 

"This is a very big area and over three million cubic meters will be removed. Unfortunately, the strategic environmental impact assessment report is not ready," said Mr Nnauye. 

"This is against the law and the attorney general should help the government to obey laws of the land," he added. 

When Mr Zitto Kabwe (Kigoma Urban - ACT wazalendo) stood up, he stressed that the government discouraged human activities in the Rufiji River basin but wondered how Stiegler's Gorge project, which is among human activities was approved before the environmental impact assessment was ready. 

"We are not against the project but we want clearing of trees for the project delayed until the assessment is done," said Mr Kabwe. 

"By the way, we have just used six per cent of  the natural gas supplied in the Mtwara - Dar es Salaam pipeline," he added. 

Speaker of the National Assembly Mr Job Ndugai wondered how TFS had interfered in the matter. 

He said jokingly, "If you clear all those trees, you must be cursed as those are also living things."

Mr Ndugai also warned that wherever hydropower projects are initiated, resistance is always natural.