Two professors heading the wildlife division under the ministry of tourism and natural resources were sacked yesterday in a purge by newly promoted minister Lazaro Nyalandu.
Those were sent packing are the director of wildlife division Prof Alexander Songorwa and his assistant Prof Jafari Kidegesho who was responsible for sustainable use of wildlife resources.
Mr Nyalandu told a press conference in his Dar es Salaam office that he was dissatisfied with the work of the two officials.
“Their removal is also in line with a recent resolution in Parliament to hold senior ministry officials accountable following the bungled anti-poaching operation,” said the minister. Prof Songorwa, a former lecturer at Sokoine University, was appointed to the sensitive office in 2012 and came in at a time when the ministry was hounded by a resurgence poaching of elephants with fingers pointing to a powerful syndicate that operates in collusion with corrupt ministry officials. Yesterday Mr Nyalandu who returned at the weekend from a major anti-poaching conference in London said Prof Songorwa was too “weak” in supervising the ministry’s programme to tame poachers.
Their sacking is a continuation of the pressure that started with Parliament’s uproar against reported human rights abuse during ‘Operation Tokomeza Ujangili’ (Operation Eradicate Poaching) that saw the resignations of four ministers, including Dr Khamis Kagasheki who was soon succeeded by Mr Nyalandu. Mr Nyalandu named Mr Paul Sarakikya as the new acting director of wildlife while Prof Kidegesho was replaced by Dr Charles Mulokozi. He also appointed Mr Julius Kibebe to assistant the director of anti-poaching to take the position of Mr Sarakikya.
The minister said the changes take effect immediately. He said the removed officers will be assigned other duties that he did not specify. Efforts to contact the sacked officials for comment were not successful yesterday. Natural Resources ministry employees, however, confirmed that Prof Songorwa was at his office at the time the announcement was being made.
He further said Ms Nebbo Mwina continues to be assistant director of training, research and statistics and Mr Keiraryo continues to be assistant director of wildlife development under the same department. He also issued a directive to all directors and heads of institutions and parastatals under his ministry top prepare key performance indicators and submit them to him in 30 days. He also put all ministry officials on notice should they fail to work by the codes of conduct.