The Selous Game Preserve is an area of Tanzania that is home to lions, zebra, elephants, giraffe, only to name a few species. Earlier this year, Magufuli, the president of Tanzania, announced plans to sell part of this preserve to China for the building of a hydroelectric plant.
Reuters World News July 26 reported:
"Magufuli made his announcement at the inauguration of construction work for the $3 billion Rufiji hydroelectric project at Stiegler’s Gorge, inside the Selous reserve.
The World Wildlife Fund said the proposed dam would put the site and the livelihoods of over 200,000 people at risk, and that UNESCO had warned that any resulting damage would put the Selous’s status of World Heritage Site at risk."
Despite the warnings from UNESCO and the World Wildlife Fund, Magufuli is moving ahead with the project.
"...'the project would take up only 3 percent* of the wildlife sanctuary. Tanzania is among global leaders in conservation activities, having allocated over 32 percent of our country’s total land to conservation,” he said. “Nobody can teach us about conservation.'"
"Stupidity talks and vanity acts." (Victor Hugo)
It is clear that when it comes to government decision making they have the corner on both. Boasting that "nobody can teach us (meaning himself) about conservation" is not only arrogant, it is incorrect. Anyone who fully understands the scientific and ecological implications of that dam would never have signed off on it. "Pride goeth before destruction." Unfortunately, it will not be his destruction... or maybe it will.
*three percent of the Selous Game Preserve is approximately six hundred and thirty square MILES of land.
Michele Mattingly is the author of Before the Empress: Messages from Mount Kilimanjaro.