Citizen (Tanzania)/allAfrica

Tanzania: Straight Talk – Mourning Lotter, Great Fighter of Jumbo Poaching

Ally Saleh, The Citizen

August 20, 2017

See link <http://allafrica.com/stories/201708210008.html> for photo.

I will probably sound angry or disappointed as I pen down this article. But

I believe most of my readers will agree with me on the concern I wish to

raise and address today.

It is of great national interest to which we all have seen and heard

several government leaders issuing utterances in support or in condemnation

of the attacks on a very important animal – the elephant.

The animals now face extinction, to prevent this from happening several

efforts have been made. Campaigns are on going.

The alarm has never stopped ringing and the call has received support from

near and afar knowing that the elephants, like all endangered animals, are

a human heritage, and when they are finished it is a calamity to the world

and not only to the countries losing them.

Of course we all know the elephant is hunted, killed because of their tusks

which attract high prices in the Far East for many traditional reasons and

of which several organizations including CITES have aroused the world

interest on its banning.

Sales of ivory have been banned but in reality the business continues in

the black market involving criminals and gangs as it is certainly a billion

dollar business.

We would be wrong to deny that Tanzania has been the hub of the business.

The country has not only lost a number of elephants but has also been a

battle ground and even a significant route for the trade.

One of the high profile proponent or supporter of war against killing of

elephants for their tusks has been Wayne Lotter of PAMS.

His organisation helped saving thousands of elephants in Tanzania and has

been the source of several arrests of suspected traffickers in this

business.

Lotter, 51, who had the zeal and drive to fight against poachers and

dismantling their networks, was shot dead in Dar es Salaam by two gun

totting assailants in a day certainly one of the darkest in Tanzania’s

fight against ivory trade and corruption in general.

Such death has certainly put a drawback to President Magufuli’s efforts to

fight high level corruption against a person who was constantly blocked by

its ugly face as for sure corruption is the driving force in ivory trade as

it touching all sources from the parks, storage, police stations, courts

and jails.

I believe it is a very expensive exercise to arrest poachers but more so

for the international ivory dealers. Lotter had distinguished himself and

put his life in danger all the time. I believe he knew he made more enemies

each day and he knew, as much he was after them, they were also after him.

However, it saddens me that we have heard very little from high government

levels on this death of a person whose contribution can be matched with no

one along the whole line of our security organs.

I said at the beginning I might sound angry or disappointed and I really do.

Such death should have received full attention of the government and

probably a statement from Prime Minister and above, and above meaning the

President.

Lotter put his life for our natural resources in the name of the most famed

animal-the elephant.

Now it is not proper to question as to how much was he protected, knowing

he was always being pursued by ivory dealers, many of whom he has caused

pain in business and in jail confinements.

We only hope Lotter will be honoured for his contribution and that his

death will not pass just as one of them because it is not. He dies a hero

for Tanzania and he deserves recognition.

Mr Saleh is a lawyer, journalist, author, political commentator, media

consultant and poet. He is also the Member of Parliament for Malindi in

Zanzibar