Important Africa tourist draw gets its day in court

Details have emerged from Arusha that the East African Court of Justice has earlier this week heard final submissions from the Tanzanian government and the plaintiffs who are seeking to obtain a permanent injunction of the construction of the Serengeti highway. Opposition for the highway argues that the road threatens to disrupt the annual migration of the wildebeest between the Serengeti to the Masai Mara.

The main opposing party, the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, or in short ANAW, represented by legal counsel S.K. Mbalelo, submitted that: “the action of constructing the road across the National Park is unlawful and infringes Articles 5 3 (c), 8 1 (c), 112 1 (e), 114 1 (a) of the treaty for the establishment of the East African Community.” He added that the road will create negative impacts which will adversely affect the eco-system and the environment and that the court has jurisdiction to entertain the dispute.

He further argued that the road will be a potential threat to wildlife as it will interrupt their movements and migration.

The United Republic of Tanzania, represented by Principal State Attorney Malata Gabriel, opposed the plaintiff’s application, advancing a number of mitigating factors, among them that the quoted protocol on environment and natural resources was not yet ratified, though not stating that the reason for that fact is the delays caused by the Tanzania government to create legal loopholes and escape doors.

The court told the two parties that the decision will be made public on notice, although no timeframe was given.