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MPs fume at river acid spill

June 30th, 2009

Members of Parliament yesterday called for immediate formation of a probe team to investigate the cause, magnitude and effects of the recent discharge of acid materials into River Tigiti in Tarime District from the North Mara Gold Mine.

They further called for full compensation for all victims as well as booking for all negligent government officials implicated in the scandal. Presenting their report during the Vice- President’s Office budget estimates debate, members of the Parliamentary Committee for Lands, Natural Resources and Environment said that the government should act urgently for justice to prevail.

“We recommend formation of the probe team to investigate the matter in terms of effects, magnitude of the disaster and victims’ compensation,” said the chairperson, Mr Job Ndugai (Kongwa-CCM). The opposition’s Environment Spokesperson Ali Kamis Seif (Mkoani-CUF), said such negligence by some government officials, who ignore such incidents, would lead the nation to precarious situation.

“We want all those involved to be taken to task, ‘’ he told the House, wondering what relevant authorities such as the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) are doing. “We (opposition) started complaining against such discharges since 2007, but we were ignored because we come from opposition.

The government should explain what measures are being taken to protect the health of the people around the area and compensate the victims,” Mr Seif demanded. Mr Charles Mwera (Tarime-Chadema) who raised the issue last week, prompting the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, to deploy the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, to the scene, said the mine should be closed down immediately.

He said many people and animals had been killed by the toxins which were now flowing to other areas beyond Tarime. River Tigiti is a tributary of River Mara. “Those experts who went to the scene and reported back that the water was safe should be taken to task. I was also expecting to hear some ministers stepping down due to this scam,” he stressed.

Mr Mwera joined other MPs to call on the government and the National Assembly to form a probe team to investigate the incident. Ludewa MP (CCM), Prof Raphael Mwalyosi, said Ihefu wetland and North Mara incidents leave a lot to be desired.

“Despite having laws and regulations in place, discharge of toxins, desertification and environment destruction continue unabated. “I think there’s weakness somewhere and due to population pressure, more similar incidents will occur and it’ll be too late to handle them,” he added. Ambassador Kagasheki was yesterday quoted by some media outlets in Tarime saying that the situation was alarming.


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