TANZANIAS CORRIDOR OF DESTRUCTION SET TO EXTEND TO UGANDA TOO
The environmental assaults on many fronts in Tanzania, often written about here and described as The Corridor of Destruction in previous feature articles, now seems to come home to roost to Uganda too, according to regular green sources in Kampala.
Disquieting reports are emerging from environmental watch dogs in Uganda that the planned construction of a new railway line from Tanga where Tanzania intends to build a new deep sea harbour right inside the Coelacanth Marine National Park to the Lake Victoria town of Musoma will result in several hundreds of hectares of forest, wetlands and swamps on the Ugandan side being cleared and drained to build a corresponding new lake port.
While all infrastructure is already in place, and only needs upgrading from the Ugandan as well as the Tanzanian side, and here I am talking enlarging the existing and substantially underutilized ports of Tanga on the Indian Ocean and Mwanza on Lake Victoria in Tanzania and Port Bell as well as Jinja in Uganda, it is mindboggling that new ports and a new railway line should be constructed literally only a few dozen kilometres apart from the existing rail line, itself due for upgrading and modernization to standard gauge standards in coming years, and the ports already in place.
No road or rail infrastructure to the proposed new site on Lake Victoria presently exists, raising the questions what exactly is being planned there and who in particular is to benefit from such a white elephant mega project, flogged on the Ugandan public as development and progress just the same way as Tanzanian officials wish to make one believe that eradicating the breeding ground of East Africas flamingos at Lake Natron, to make way for a soda ash plant, is progress too, as would be a highway and railway across the Serengeti plains even if the great migration would be finished within a few years.
The National Forest Authority and NEMA in Kampala have reportedly denied any knowledge of plans to drain wetlands in the absence of any EIA conducted so far or to cut down an entire forest, something Uganda seems to become notorious for considering the attempted give away of a quarter of Mabira Forest to have an ailing sugar company grow cane instead of keeping over 7.000 hectares of tropical trees.
But then here, as in the case of the Serengeti Highway, there is now true hope for the environment getting its day in court as the East African Court of Justice, going by a recent statement of the court registrar, is more than willing to accept such cases where national legislation and regulations are being bent or broken and the national court systems are unable or unwilling to provide a fair hearing.
Time for the environmental fraternity across Eastern Africa to share their notes and observations and strategize how to tackle such moonshine projects, which with a bit of common sense could not just avoid costly duplication using money we need for education and health, but avoid lasting damage for our environment.
Watch this space.
Archive for July 3rd, 2012
TANZANIAS CORRIDOR OF DESTRUCTION SET TO EXTEND TO UGANDA TOO
Following the launch of scheduled flights a few weeks ago by Turkish Airlines to Mogadishu and a visit to Hargeisa by a Turkish trade delegation in May, indicating that Turkish might also want to fly to Somaliland, a breakaway part of Somalia working hard to gain international recognition as a new state, Ethiopian yesterday resumed flights to Somalilands Berbera International Airport.
Operations were halted in 2008 following a terror attack on the airline offices in the capital Hargeisa but improved security circumstances, according to an aviation source in Nairobi, have since allowed for airlines to return to Somaliland, notably Kenyas Jetlink.
Ethiopian is alongside Turkish a member of Star Alliance but the competition will be fierce nevertheless between the partners, as ET is also said to be considering flying to Mogadishu in due course, again as a result of greatly improved security in Somalias capital.
This latest addition to Ethiopians route network puts the airline once again into the market leader position with the most destinations in Africa served, ahead of rivals Kenya Airways. It could not be ascertained if Hargeisa too will in due course be added as a second destination in Somaliland by Ethiopian. Watch this space for regular aviation news updates from the wider East African region.
Responsible Tourism Tanzania has been described to this correspondent as a new association of like minded individuals and groups who believe in a sustainable approach to tourism in Tanzaniamaking it a pleasure if not outright duty for this correspondent to promote and support this initiative by giving it exposure and making sure the vision and mission of RTTZ is widely read, understood and embraced. Membership in RTTZ is open for all stakeholders of the tourism industry, in particular those of course who support and practice a sustainable approach to tourism in Tanzania. At present RTTZ is welcoming founding members to join and support the development of the association. The development of the Responsible Tourism Tanzania is being supported and funded by the Round Table Africa and the Honeyguide Foundation, to allow the recently registered NGO to get going and to make an impact in Tanzania and hopefully find copy cats across the region equally embracing this worthwhile concept.
From their new website a range of documents in PDF format can be downloaded, such as policy statements, code of conducts for members, outline of standards, guidelines for implementation of projects, benefits of applying for certification of green standards and best practices plus a virtual library with links to important research documents, studies and published books and articles. For more information on how to join RTTZ and how to support the initiative, visit http://www.rttz.org
All the best for this noble idea and in the interest of keeping out region green and clean, all the success such a project surely deserves.
ROUTES AFRICA REGISTRATIONS A SUCCESS BEYOND MEASURE
As the clock ticks down towards this Sundays start of the much awaited Routes Africa continental aviation meeting have details been shared from Victoria about the registration of delegates, reeling in a record number of airlines, airports, aviation businesses and even registered journalists all credited to both the location Seychelles Another World and the determined yet smart effort by the archipelagos tourism gurus to add value to the meeting.
Alongside and following the aviation conference will the ICTP hold its first ever Annual Meeting and Academy Meeting, then to be followed by SADCs RETOSA Board meeting of tourism ministers from the Southern African trade block and the Vanilla Island meeting of tourism ministers and their tourist board top executives.
This clever alignment of added extra attractions has generated the unprecedented magnetism for the Routes Africa meeting with a dozen official tourism delegations coming to Victoria and permitting additional bilateral and multilateral face to face encounters, something none of the previous African Routes meetings was ever able to generate to that extent.
Participating airlines are now confirmed to be 32, though in some cases both the passenger and cargo sections will attend, while some 37 airports and airport authorities have also confirmed their presence in the Seychelles. In addition were 7 tourism ministries and / or tourist boards registered for official attendance while on the suppliers side an astonishing 13 will attend the conference, including such heavyweights as Bombardiers Aerospace and Lufthansa Consulting.
Gulf giants Emirates, their cousins FlyDubai and Qatar Airways are joining Air Seychelles as host airline with their partner Etihad, alongside such continental aviation leaders like Kenya Airways, Ethiopian, South African Airways, RwandAir, Kulula, LAM, ARIK, Air Mauritius, Astral, Mango, Zambezi Airlines and NASAir, while from further abroad Turkish will be at Routes Africa 2012 alongside United Airlines, Iberia and Vueling.
Host hotel and conference venue on Mahe is the Kempinski Seychelles Resort, a befitting venue for sure providing 5 star hospitality to delegates from across much of the world.
A lesson learned for sure for the organizers and others seeking venues for their meetings, one can never fail to bring MICE business to the Seychelles as the location alone, besides a totally committed tourism ministry and tourist board will do all they can to facilitate organizers and use their global PR and marketing juggernaut to trumpet the event to the world. Watch this space.