Serengeti road is not in breach of Treaty: Tanzania argue in EA Court of Justice

Tanzania has dismissed claims that it is violating the East African Community Treaty by constructing a $480 million superhighway across the Serengeti National Park, The EAST AFRICAN newspaper reports.

At the final submission against a case seeking to obtain a permanent injunction on the construction of the highway, the Tanzania government, through its counsel and principal state attorney Gabriel Malata, argued that the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) should dismiss the case with costs because the EAC partner states are yet to ratify the Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources.
“Also there was no violation of the Treaty because the government had, at the time the case was being filed, not decided on the type of road to construct, and after a feasibility study, opted for a gravel road that will have no effect on the ecosystem at Serengeti,”
said Mr Malata.

He also said that if the orders sought by the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) are granted, it
will frustrate the tourism sector in the entire East African region, because the road is meant to facilitate the movement of tourists.

ANAW filed a law suit in 2010 asking the regional court to declare the proposed highway unlawful since the road threatened to disrupt the annual migration of wildebeest between the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.

Hearing

During the hearing, ANAW through its lawyer Saitabao Mbalelo, stated that the construction of the superhighway across the Serengeti is unlawful and infringes articles 5, 8, 112 and 114 of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community.
“The construction of the road through the park would be hazardous to the environment generally and animals in particular,”
said Mr Saitabao, adding that the road will be a potential threat to wildlife as it will interrupt their movement and migration.
“The five km road is gravel level and is not yet open for public use but the Tanzanian government intends to free it.”
The Court is yet to deliver its ruling.