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Hunting Blocks in Tanzania Who Owns What!
Posted: Thursday October 04, 2007 3:19 PM BT
At least one government minister, a couple of ruling CCM party legislators, several retired top public leaders and a good number of prominent businessmen are all named in a shortlist of Tanzanian citizens reported to have a substantial stake in the country's lucrative but largely foreign-dominated tourist hunting industry.
The incumbent Minister for Information, Culture and Sports, Mohamed Seif Khatib; former Inspector General of Police Haroun Mahundi; and the family of Kwela Member of Parliament Dr Chrisant Mzindakaya all feature prominently in the list of who owns what in local tourist hunting.

Another legislator, Ms Halima Mohammed Mamuya, is also understood to have a stake in the multi-billion shilling industry, although reports say she is at present personally involved in a legal tussle over the ownership of her hunting company.

According to the findings of a THISDAY survey, Minister Khatib is listed as director of M.S.K Tours and Hunting Safaris Company Limited, a firm ostensibly named after the initials of his own name. Official records show that M.S.K Tours and Hunting Safaris Co. Ltd was in 2005 granted a concession on the Mtungwe open area by the Wildlife Division in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

Meanwhile, the Mzindakaya family is linked to the Sumbawanga-based Milanzi Wild Animals, Zoo & Tours company, which was allocated a concession on the Swagaswaga area in 2003.

Ms Mamuya, a nominated member of parliament, who also recently resigned as secretary-general of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi women's organisation (UWT), is linked to the Morogoro Hunting Safaris Limited company which was in 2004 granted a concession on the Sasawala Forest Reserve/open area.

Retired IGP Haroun Mahundi was at one time, or still is, associated with the V.I.P Hunting Safari Club Limited company which was granted several hunting concessions in the 1990s.

Furthermore, the family of veteran politician Rashid Mfaume Kawawa is also reported to have an interest in the local tourist hunting business, through at least one company going by the name of Said Kawawa Hunting Safaris.

And some members of the family of former prime minister, the late Edward Moringe Sokoine, have been linked to Coastal Wilderness (Tanzania) Limited and Joyful Adventure (Tanzania) Limited, both of which are registered tourist hunting companies with concessions.

Apart from the handful of politicians and retired civil servants, several prominent local businessmen have also emerged as major players in the tourist hunting stakes. They include Mohsin Abdallah, who is understood to be linked to several hunting companies with lucrative concessions, such as Game Frontiers of Tanzania Limited, Royal Frontiers of Tanzania Limited and Northern Hunting Enterprises Limited.

Abdallah, also popularly known as 'Sheni', was in 2001 also appointed by the government to serve on the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) board of directors.

Also on the list of who's who in the industry is businessman Akram Aziz, a brother of the Igunga MP and current CCM party treasurer Rostam Aziz. The wildlife division last year allocated two concessions to Akram, on the Litumbandyosi open area/Gezamasua Forest Reserve and Wembere open area, through the Wembere Hunting Safari company which he is understood to own.

Dar es Salaam businessman Mustafa R. Jaffer has been linked to the Barlette Safari Corporation Limited company, along with other shareholders from the family of prominent local tourist hunting personality Gerard Pasanisi.

Also listed is Michael Mantheakis, director of the Miombo Safaris Limited company which has concessions in the Selous Game Reserve, Rungwa Mpera Game Reserve, Lukwika/Lumesule Game Reserve, and the Msanjesi Game Reserve/Lionja Forest Reserve/Kipindimbi open area. Another company under Mantheakis’ common ownership, Kilombero North Safaris Limited, was allocated at least two hunting concessions in the Kilombero area.

The Malagarasi Hunting Safaris Limited, owned by businessman and well-known football commentator Licky Abdallah, was allocated a concession on the Kigosi Game Reserve in 2004; and the Mulla family also has several concessions through the Tanzania Wildlife Corporation and Usangu Safaris Limited companies.

But despite this comprehensive list of Tanzanians deeply involved in the money-spinning local tourist hunting business, all the pointers show that it basically remains largely in the control of foreigners.

Our survey has already established that ever since way back in the late 1970s, the industry as a whole has been monopolised by an elite group of foreign companies, consigning the bulk of the local citizenry to the role of mere spectators.

The current roster of key players in the industry shows a huge presence of French, American, Arab, British, Italian, German, Dutch, Belgian, Swiss, South African, Kenyan and Greek businessmen to name but a few nationalities.

Pasanisi, himself a French national who is currently chairman of the Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA), is widely considered to be the kingpin of the local industry, with considerable influence both in the country and abroad.

Tanzania's safari hunting industry has of late been dragged into the centre of a growing international debate in the wake of a government decision to raise various hunting licence fees with the aim of boosting national revenue collection and facilitating more sustainable hunting.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof. Jumanne Maghembe, has found himself under mounting pressure from major hunting companies to reconsider the decision, but has stated that the government plans to stick to its guns on the controversial issue.

THISDAY REPORTER
Dar es Salaam

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