The government has finally caved in to relentless pressure and revoked the hunting licence issued to Green Miles Safaris, which operated in Selous Game Reserve. Credit here should go to the Official Opposition in Parliament, which first presented an incriminating video to the august House earlier this year. It is an important victory for all conservationists.
The Opposition, through Natural Resources and Tourism shadow minister Peter Msigwa, continued to pressure the government after realising that virtually no action had been taken since the video was handed over to National Assembly Speaker Anne Makinda during the Budget sitting two months ago.
It was only after the Reverend Msigwa had convened a news conference in Dar es Salaam and played the video to journalists that the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, said the government was investigating the allegations. Mr Nyalandu on Friday announced the revocation of the company’s licence less than a week after the Rev Msigwa went public with the video, which, strangely enough, was recorded by the now-proscribed firm itself, ostensibly for publicity.
The errant company was kicked out of Selous Game Reserve after it was belatedly established that the firm had grossly violated the terms of its licence issued in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act, 2009, and the Wildlife Conservation (Tourist Hunting) Regulations of 2010.
Closer scrutiny of the offences committed by the company makes one wonder why nobody has been hauled to court to answer for these serious breaches, which include allowing hunters to mow down wild animals with automatic weapons fitted with silencers, using vehicles to chase and knock down animals and allowing clients younger than 18 to hunt.
There are no prizes for guessing what would have happened had the tenacious Rev Msigwa not persevered. The matter would most likely have been quietly swept under the carpet, and it would have been business as usual for the culprits and their protectors in the corridors of power.