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No Serengeti Highway?


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.The Government of Tanzania 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.

President Kikwete stated: “There has been so much unnecessary confusion about this issue. Let me give you my assurances that we will keep the Serengeti intact. We will not build a tarmac road through the Serengeti National Park. We will only build a road around the park to ease very serious transport challenges facing the poorer communities around the park.”

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, a planned road will only cross the Serengeti for 54 kilometer stretch and will remain unpaved. In recent months, a global network of environmental activists has mounted a completely misinformed campaign claiming that the Government of Tanzania intends to destroy the Serengeti by building a tarmac road through the park, which will seriously hurt the famous migration of wildlife.

“No tarmac road will be built through the Serengeti.  As you know well, Tanzania is the most conservatory country in the world. This has been our policy and position since our independence and you can have my assurances that this position will remain unchanged,” said President Kikwete.

The President said they will continue to seriously protect the Serengeti and as a Government, will meet their responsibilities to their people.The local people living in the northern side of the park were removed from inside the park itself as part of Tanzania’s conservation efforts. It takes about eight hours of very rough travel to reach their area from Mto wa Mbu town, which is only a 170 kilometer stretch. The locals have no road, no water and no power. The government feels they would be doing a huge injustice if they do not act to correct these imbalances and avoid creating a situation where the locals perceive the government as uncaring, creating a climate of unfairness.

“We will continue with our serious efforts of conservation, but we cannot deny these people living on the northern side of the Serengeti border a road. There is neither justification nor explanation for not building this important road.”

From the Directorate of Presidential Communications
United Republic of Tanzania