WEDNESDAY March 9, 2022
By Patty Magubira
The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania
Tourism stakeholders in Tanzania have resolved to employ social media platforms to protest against the ‘concept’ of installing cable cars on Mount Kilimanjaro.
They unanimously agreed in their meeting held in Moshi Municipality, Kilimanjaro Region, on Tuesday March 8, 2022, that each of them would post a message against the concept coupled with a tag reading: Kilimanjaro: Do not cable it, climb it.
The movement is apparently intensifying despite Prime Minister Majalaiwa Kassim Majaliwa fortnight ago allaying the tourism players’ fear of the government hastily approving the project he admits abounds with environmental, employment and economic concerns.
The conservation agency, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), on Tuesday March 8, 2022, also issued a statement saying the concept was still at its initial stages and that no stakeholder would be left behind when time for public hearing approaches.
Tourism players from five organisations, who gathered on the foots of the mountain, argue that the concept has, to their astonishment, been resurfacing since 2015 and that they had all along opposed it, wondering the motive of the persons behind it.
About 560 members of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO), Tanzania Tour Guides Association (TTGA), Tanzania Porters Organisation ((TPO) and the Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society (MKPS) voted against the concept during the meeting with none of them voting in its favour.
Dr Damas Ndumbaro, the Tanzania Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, on February 18, 2022, directed the industry to convene a meeting for stakeholders to either vote for or against the concept, vowing that the majority vote would call the shot.
The TATO Chairman, Mr Wilbard Chambulo, says the cable car concept will have distressing effects to the mountain, which is already overwhelmed by the impact of climate change threatening to wipe out the ice cap on the peak, let alone cutting down jobs and fueling poverty.
Alex Lema, the most senior participant in the meeting aged 74, says the ice cap is playing a critical role on top of the mountain.
“Adding or removing anything on the mountain will expedite the melting process, leading huge rocks covered by the snow to slide down and bury the national park, the municipality and everything found on the slopes of the mountain,” he warns.
TATO Board Member Tim Mdinka says Kilimanjaro Mountain is among special places in the world that ought to be revered and protected from riskier decisions including of putting up cable cars.
“It is here where the Tanganyika flag was hoist during independence, Uhuru Torch was lit and the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, said:
“We have lighted the Uhuru Torch and placed it at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, to shine within and outside our boundaries, to bring hope where there is despair, love where there is hatred and respect where there is contempt.”
Mdinka says Mount Kilimanjaro being a national symbol that forms the base of the Court of Arms, decisions on it should not be left to every Dick, Tom and Harry.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson Paschal Shelutete, the Senior Assistant Conservation Commissioner, TANAPA admits a feasibility study on the cable cars product on Mount Kilimanjaro is in progress.
However, besides the National Commission on UNESCO, the National Environmental Management Council and TANAPA itself, neither a company is involved nor contract had been entered to at this stage, the statement saysΩ