by Ben Taylor

The editorial team is sorry to inform you that Hugh Wenban-Smith, a contributor to Tanzanian Affairs for many years, has sadly passed away. A full obituary will follow in the next issue of Tanzanian Affairs.

Dedicated conservation activist, Wayne Lotter (1965-2017), was murdered by an unknown assailant in Dar es Salaam on August 16, 2017. His taxi from the airport was stopped by another vehicle at the junction of Chole Road and Haile Selassie Road in Masaki. Two men opened his car door, one of whom then shot him. The police are reported as saying they believe he was deliberately targeted for his work. Three people have been charged with the murder. Wayne leaves behind his wife Inge, daughters Cara Jayne and Tamsin, and parents Vera and Charles Lotter.

Originally from South Africa, Wayne had become a leading and innovative conservationist in Tanzania, but his work made him well-known in global conservation circles around the world. Born in Johannesburg, he spent much of his childhood on safari in Kruger National Park. He studied for a master’s degree in nature conservation at Tshwane University in 1990, and spent many years as a ranger in South Africa before shifting his attention to Tanzania.

In recent years, Lotter’s primary focus was the Selous-Niassa corridor in Southern Tanzania, where much of the slaughter of elephants had been taking place. An estimated 60% of Tanzania’s elephant population were killed between 2009 and 2014.

Rather than simply bolster policing efforts, Lotter recognised that a more intelligent approach was needed to address such a complex problem. With two colleagues, he founded the Protected Areas Management Solutions (PAMS) Foundation, and recruited a network of informants in poaching areas who would track both elephants and suspected poachers. When the poachers were then arrested, so much was known about their movements that it became much easier to convince them to provide information on those higher up the chain.

This intelligence-led approach worked. In five years more than 2,000 poachers were arrested. More significantly, the rate of poaching was cut dramatically and the elephant population began to stabilise. And partly as a result of his efforts with PAMS and with the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigations Unit in Tanzania that he also helped to establish, several key figures in the poaching and ivory business were arrested: the so-called “The Queen of Ivory”, Yang Fenglan, and Boniface Malyango, also known as “Shetani Hana Huruma” / The Devil With No Mercy, who is said to have killed or ordered the killing of 10,000 elephants.

Of course, this meant that he knew his life was in danger. He received multiple death threats. “My deepest condolences to Wayne’s family and all those at PAMS Foundation for this senseless loss,” said Prince William, patron of the conservation charity, Tusk. “Governments and NGOs must win this fight for the sake of all of us, especially those in communities whose livelihoods are being plundered by murderous criminals.”

Renowned primatologist, Dame Jane Goodall, described Wayne as a hero of hers and a hero to many. “If this cowardly shooting was an attempt to bring the work of the PAMS Foundation to an end it will fail.

Those who have been inspired by Wayne will fight on,” she said. “Wayne devoted his life to Africa’s wildlife,” read a statement released by the PAMS Foundation. “From working as a ranger in his native South Africa as a young man to leading the charge against poaching in Tanzania, he cared deeply about the people and animals that populate this world. Wayne’s charm, brilliance and eccentric sense of humour gave him the unique ability to make those around him constantly laugh and smile. He died bravely fighting for the cause he was most passionate about.”

The politician and former coach of Taifa Stars, the Tanzania national football team, Joel Nkaya Bendera (1950-2017) died in December at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

By some, Bendera will be remembered most for guiding Taifa Stars to the Africa Cup of Nations in Nigeria in 1980, the only time the team has ever reached the finals of a major international tournament. He also had spells managing Simba Sports Club, Young Africans (Yanga) and Tanga’s African Sports.

What differentiated Bendera from many soccer coaches Tanzania has had, according to journalist Attililo Tagalile, was that he combined coaching skills with a solid grounding in psychology. He believed that for any team to win a game, it was important that the played were as well prepared mentally as they were skilled.

Bendera later went into politics, and was elected as the MP for Korogwe Urban, representing CCM. He held the post of Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Sports from 2006, before holding various Regional Commissioner posts.

“Bendera was a brave and hard-working leader. He was very cooperative and always wanted to achieve tremendous success from the work he was doing. It is a big loss,” said President Magufuli.

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