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Wildlife Migration

New Tanzanian tourism minister faces stern test over Serengeti controversy

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Dec 07, 2010

(eTN) - When the former tourism minister, Shamsa Mwangunga, was shown the door by her constituents in the preliminary party elections, many attributed her loss to her failure to deliver to her own back yard, leave alone becoming known as a parrot singing the tune of destroying the Serengeti by pushing for the highway construction on orders of her bosses instead of standing up and doing right for conservation.

Being left in the political wilderness for the next term of parliament, she is undoubtedly facing music enough, not the least by being severed from the political trough from which her snout had been removed.

Her former deputy has now found himself elevated to full cabinet minister, and Ezekiel Maige will be the one to face the country’s tourism industry over the hugely controversial plans to build a highway across the Serengeti migration routes.

He will in parliament also face the former Secretary General of TATO, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, who has defeated a ruling party candidate, and very handsomely for that matter, to become a member of parliament, and he will undoubtedly take on the mantle as "shadow tourism minister" and challenge the government’s position on many crucial issues for the sector, on incentives, promotional budgets, availability of affordable financing, and not the least the question of where the highway should pass, through the heartland of the migration of far away from it, having after all been elected on such a platform.

Time will tell, and hopefully soon, if common sense persists in the end, and the highway routing be changed to leave the migration alone and free of killer traffic, as experts have predicted.

New Tanzanian tourism minister faces stern test over Serengeti controversy
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