The heir to the British throne, fresh back in Dar es Salaam after a day visit to Zanzibar, did not disappoint the conservation fraternity in his official State Dinner address, when he expressed his hopes to see Mt. Kilimanjaro during his one day visit to Arusha on Wednesday, weather permitting. Notably did Prince Charles pay glowing tribute to the founding father of the Tanzanian nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, whom he described as leaving a priceless legacy of conservation of national parks, game- nature- and marine reserves, which until now have contributed to maintaining global biodiversity.
There is speculation that Prince Charles in his one on one meeting also raised serious questions of the current Tanzanian governments commitment to conservation, in his capacity as President of the WWF UK chapter and generally as a known conservationist and nature lover, ever ready to speak his mind candidly.
Tanzania has been in the bad books of the global conservation fraternity over a range of inexplicable U-turns from Nyereres total commitment to conservation, to the extent of being accused on trampling the founding fathers legacy and inheritance. Tanzania celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence from Britain this week and has tried to capitalize on the celebrations to promote tourism to the country, however overshadowed by a series of ministerial gaffes and contradictory statements and hugely controversial plans to extract Uranium in the Selous Game Reserve, mine soda ash at the single breeding ground of the lesser flamingo, build a highway across the Serengeti and convert the Tanga Marine National Park, home to the prehistoric Coelacanth fish, into a deep sea harbour, amongst a range of other equally controversial development projects.
Prince Charles has meetings with conservationists on his agenda and will undoubtedly give them reassurance and hope that his support will add to the public pressure to revise if not abandon some of the most controversial plans and seek other options to explore Tanzanias mineral riches without impacting irreversibly on biodiversity.
Compiled by Jackie