“WILDEBEESTS WILL VOTE FOR YOU”

There was a sharp debate in parliament when MP’s and others were invited to comment on the new ‘Wildlife Act 2008.’

“This Bill favours wildlife protection more than human beings” according to one participant.” “If you MP’s let it pass and become law, you must recruit wildebeests to vote for you come 2010” a village chairman said. The Bill would undermine indigenous Maasai people residing adjacent to the controlled areas in the vast districts of Simanjiro, Monduli, Longido and Ngorongoro. Mbakule Laizer from Longido was concerned by a certain section on the Bill that directed investors within the Wildlife Management Areas to pay fees direct to the Wildlife Division contrary to the previous system where they used to pay the respective village authorities. “We have spent a considerable time in our life to conserve the wildlife believing that one day we will reap the benefits of our efforts, but now when the government wants to rob us of the fees, I fear the move will spark off a dispute” one participant said amid applause from the floor.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Land, Natural Resources and Environment said it was unfair for villagers to threaten to deny MP’s their votes in the forthcoming general elections. “We have brought the Bill before you so that you can suggest what is to be removed or added, and we are ready to take you views in order to come up with a fair Wildlife Act at the end of the day,” he said – Guardian.

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