Tanzanian President John Magufuli
Tanzanian President John Magufuli

Tanzanian President John Magufuli said on Tuesday no more protected areas and reserves for wildlife and forests will be annulled for allocation to villages. “The government will not annul more protected areas and reserves for wildlife and forests and be allocated to villages for settlements, farming and livestock keeping,” said Magufuli.

The president made the statement when he addressed a public rally at Kanazi in Nkasi district in Rukwa region shortly before he had commissioned a 75-kilometer road from Sumbawanga to Kanazi built on tarmac level using local resources.

“If we annul all protected areas and reserves in the country it will amount to destroying habitats for wildlife,” he said in an address broadcast live by state-run Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation. Magufuli, who is on a nine-day working tour of Songwe, Rukwa and Katavi regions, added that destruction of habitats for wildlife will result in stopping tourists from across the world visiting Tanzania and subsequently losing the required foreign currency.

The head of state made the statement after he had seen a banner that appealed to him to annul a protected area in Rukwa region and allocate it to people for settlement, farming and livestock keeping. On Sept. 23, the government endorsed the annulment of 12 protected areas and seven reserves for wildlife and forests and allocated them to 920 villages for habitation.

The annulled protected areas and reserves that cover a total of 707,659.94 hectares were allocated to people for settlements, farming and livestock keeping. A decision to annul the protected areas and reserves was endorsed by a cabinet meeting chaired by President John Magufuli at State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

In January this year, President Magufuli ordered relevant authorities to suspend removal of 366 villages situated in protected areas for wildlife and forests.

A statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at State House said all ministries responsible for protected areas should implement his directive without delay. About 40 percent of land in Tanzania is set aside in protected areas for conservation. Enditem

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