By Shaaban Fundi
Serengeti Road No More: Victory or Not? The letter presented to UNESCO by Mr. Ezekiel Maige clearly states that the SERENGETI HIGHWAY will be constructed on both ends of the Serengeti National Park (click the link above,for the letter and the proposed Serengeti Highway Map at the bottom of the linked document).
According to the letter, the only portion of the road that will not be paved is the 53 kilometers through the Serengeti and will remain under the supervision of TANAPA. This means in layman’s term that only TANAPA vehicles and tourists related transportation would be allowed to use the roads within the park.
Some of the questions I have with this new plan are: 1) why build a highway that is cut in the middle? 2) What will happen to the cars and trucks on both ends of the highway?(since only TANAPA and tourists vehicles will be allowed in the park), 3) Are the cars and trucks going to fly to get to the other paved side of the highway so that they don’t interfere with the already fragile ecosystem?
I feel like this (kiini macho) is just a joke! It all means that the highway will in some way get completed sooner or later. The cars and trucks on both ends will be allowed to circulate within the TANAPA supervised roads (the unpaved portion of the highway) and hence dramatically affecting the wildebeest migration and the Serengeti Ecosystem as a whole.
This road will have even a higher impact on the Maasai people living traditionally on the Serengeti plains. More people will move in, near or close to the park and therefore adding pressure to the subsistence means of living that many of the Maasai people in this area depend on. The gradual diminishing of the subsistence means or lack thereof, will force most of them to leave or join the ranks of many Maasai working as guards (Walinzi) in many cities and hotels across Tanzania. I can’t wait for the time to come (very soon) when the proudest tribe in Africa is turned into beggars by blind governmental policies.