Wednesday February 12 2014

Tanzania irked by poaching allegations

By Tom Mosoba

Monitor correspondent
Dar es Salaam.

The government was in damage control mode yesterday to protect its international reputation following a damning report on elephant slaughter that linked poaching to President Jakaya Kikwete.

President Kikwete was said to be “annoyed and furious” with the report by Britain’s newspaper, the Daily Mail, that appeared to blame his administration for complicity in the poaching and illegal ivory trade whose annual global value is estimated at about £6?billion (about TSh16 trillion or Shs24 trillion)

Sources in government told the Citizen, the Daily Monitor’s sister paper, that the head of state summoned an emergency meeting with top government officials on Sunday to explore an appropriate response to the report.

Authorities in Dar es Salaam were concerned about the effect of the publication that came less than 72 hours before President Kikwete was to leave for UK to attend a major anti-poaching conference.

According to our sources, Natural Resources and Tourism minister Lazaro Nyalandu was stopped from travelling to London at the Julius Nyerere International Airport to attend the Sunday meeting at State House.

Yesterday, minister Nyalandu who addressed a press conference in a Dar es Salaam condemned the Daily Mail report as “falsehoods and propaganda leveled against Tanzania and its leadership.”

Mr Nyalandu said President Kikwete will lead a powerful delegation from the country to attend the London meeting.