(eTN) – News came in overnight that the Tanzanian government has suffered a sharp setback when their application to throw out a legal case brought by a range of opponents to their Serengeti highway plans was denied by the East African Court of Justice. The court ruled to uphold the suit brought by conservation groups and will hear the case under its jurisdiction.
This will give fresh impetus to the campaign to keep the Serengeti untouched, much needed considering the lukewarm and often outright contradictory statements by government after sending an assuring letter to UNESCO only to do U-turns time and again.
A range of other megaprojects along the “Corridor of Destruction” will now very likely also be brought to court by environmental and conservation groups opposed to destroying the habitat of the lesser flamingo by a planned soda ash plant at Lake Natron, the uranium mining plans in the Selous; the building of a hydroelectric dam at Stiegler’s Gorge, also in the Selous; and the building of a new port at Mwambani right in the middle of a marine national park launched to protect prehistoric Coelacanth fish.
Across the lake in Uganda, this news was received with jubilation and hope to the “Save Mabira Forest” coalition, where president Museveni seems hell bent to destroy a quarter of the sprawling forest to allow a near bankrupt sugar company owned by an Indian tycoon to grow sugar cane. Groups in Uganda have already started to mobilize to also take their grievance to the East African Court of Justice, now certain to hear such cases after dismissing the Tanzanian government’s objections on jurisdiction and substance of the case.