President Kikwete has made a statement on the governments intentions as regards the controversial proposed road through the Serengeti.
‘The Government has reassured the international community that Tanzania will never do anything to hurt or take any decision that may irresponsibly destroy the Serengeti National Park such as building a tarmac road through the Park. However, the Government has reiterated its commitment to meet its responsibilities of supporting development efforts of poorer communities living around the park including building a tarmac road on the northern tip of the park to ease the severe transport challenges facing those communities.
The Serengeti is a jewel of our nation and the international community….We will do nothing to hurt the Serengeti and we would like the international community to know this… There has been so much unnecessary confusion about this issue. Let me give you my assurances that we will keep the Serengeti intact.
Under the plan, the Government wants to decongest traffic inside the park that currently crosses the Serengeti daily on a 220-kilometer road which passes right through the park. Instead, the planned road will cross the Serengeti for only 54 kilometers which will remain unpaved.
In recent months, a global network of environmental activists and conservators has mounted a completely misinformed campaign claiming that the Government of Tanzania intends to destroy the Serengeti by building tarmac road through the park, which will seriously hurt the famous migration of wildlife. The people living in the northern side of the park were removed from inside the park itself as part of our conservation efforts. It takes about eight hours of very rough travel to reach their area from Mto wa Mbu town, and it is only 170 kilometers stretch. They have no road. They have no water. They have no power. We will be doing huge injustice if we do not move to correct these imbalances. There is neither justification nor explanation for not building this important road.”