Monday, November 10, 2014

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, ON ALLEGATIONS THAT THE GOVERNMENTS OF CHINA AND TANZANIA ENGAGED IN ILLEGAL IVORY TRADE, WHICH IS MADE UNDER REGULATION 49(1) OF THE STANDING REGULATIONS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 2013 EDITION

Honourable Deputy Speaker,
 
Various local and international media reported yesterday that members of the delegation of the President of China, who visited our country 18 months ago, engaged in buying ivory in the country. The source of the allegation is apparently a report by an American Non-Governmental Organisation known as Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).  The report further accused our country and its leaders of passivity and doing nothing to stem illegal ivory trade. 
 
Honourable Deputy Speaker,

Allow me to inform the Tanzanian public and the international community through your august House, that the claims by the American NGO that the historic visit to Tanzania by the Chinese President, who chose our country for his first trip abroad after assuming office, was  associated with illegal ivory trade, have no iota of truth. Similarly, accusations the Government of Tanzania pays no attention to illegal ivory trade and takes no action against culprits of the crime, are baseless. The EIA report has been cooked up with the aim of tainting the good reputation of our country and that of our friends, the People’s Republic of China. It is a patched up report, whose release has been timed to serve an agenda well known to us. 

Honourable Deputy Speaker,

Before delving into why I hold that this report is fabricated, allow me to outline to your august House the following six undisputed facts:

1) Firstly, it is true that the biggest ivory market is in China. Those engaged in illegal ivory trade look for market in China;

2) It is also undisputed that most of the ivory peddled in the black market originates from African countries, including Tanzania;

3) The illegal ivory trade involves criminals and criminal networks masterminded by individuals of different nationalities, including Chinese and Tanzanians;

4) The Government of Tanzania and that of China are not engaged in illegal ivory trade and have no link with criminal networks of the illicit trade.

5) Cognizant of the gravity of the effects of illegal ivory trade, our two governments have been working very closely in tackling the criminal networks of the illicit business. Government agencies in our two countries have been collaborating and exchanging information, which led to the arrest of culprits. Furthermore, during the recent visit to China by our President, our two governments signed an agreement under which China would provide equipment for an operation to fight poaching and illegal harvesting of forest resources in Tanzania (China Aided Equipment for Forest Resources and Wildlife Conservation). Another agreement was signed for China to provide modern equipment for cargo surveillance at the port.

6) Tanzania and China participated fully at the London Confrrence on Illegal Wildlife Trade, which was held in February, 2014. One of the major achievements of that meeting was the signing of an agreement to fight illegal ivory mtrade by China, Botswana and Tanzania. This was the first time for China to sign such agreement, which attests to the commitment by the government of President Xi Jinping to rout illegal ivory trade. Before the London conference, the Chinese government burnt in public a consignment of illegal ivory seized in the country.  
 
Honourable Deputy Speaker,
Having said that, allow me now to explain why I submitted that the reports by the NGO EIA are fabricated.
 
Honourable Deputy Speaker,
This was not the first time for the New York Times to publish such report. A similar report was published last year.  The source of the allegations mentioned in the report is a person met on the street and interviewed. The person is not an employee at the port or airport. He is just a commoner as seen in the video clip of the interview. 

Apart from the false allegations made by suspect source, the EIA report also mentioned the interception of a container at the port with illegal ivory. It is true that state agencies intercepted the container with contraband. What was not publicized is that the seizure was made possible by close cooperation of Tanzanian and Chinese intelligence agencies. It was intelligence information from China which facilitated the operation. Disappointingly, however, reports in social media claimed that the intercepted container was being loaded onto a Chinese naval ship, which was not true. 
 
It must also be mentioned that President Xi’s visit to Tanzania lasted for 24 hours and his programme started immediately on arrival at 15.00 hours ending at 22.00 hours with a state banquet on the first day. The second day’s programme started in the morning with the inauguration of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre, after which President Xi and his delegation had meetings with Zanzibar President, Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein and retired President Benjamin William Mkapa. Thereafter, President Xi and his delegation proceeded to the Chinese cemetery at Majohe from where they drove to the airport and flew off. The question is, what time did the alleged shopping carried out by President Xi’s delegation take place?
 
And why should the allegations of President Xi and his delegation buying illegal ivory arise today? Why now after the visit by our President to China? Why should the report be published after the national address by our President in which he detailed the success of his visit to China? 
 
Honourable Deputy Speaker,
Everybody can guess the answers. The peddlers of such reports do not wish our country well. They do not wish our Chinese friends well. They are jealous of China’s achievements. It is amazing that they hate them while they depend so much on them. They would wish to monopolize Chinese trade, Chinese financing and Chinese investments. It is taboo for us Africans to access those opportunities. We must not accept such nonsense. We are an independent country, nobody will choose friends for us and we shall not inherit anybody’s enemies. We will enhance our brotherly partnership with China and we shall not be deterred by malicious fabrications from any quarter. 
 
Let me also reassure your august House, Honourable Deputy Speaker, that our government will not relent in the fight against illegal ivory trade. The days of perpetrators of the evil business are numbered.

Thank you for your kind attention.


ISSUED BY: THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, DAR ES SALAAM

7TH NOVEMBER, 2014
 ______________________________
TAARIFA KWA VYOMBO VYA HABARI

Wizara ya Matnbo ya Nje na Ushirikiano wa Kimataifa inawasilisha kwenye Vyombo vya Habari taarifa kuhusu Kauli ya Waziri wa Mambo ya Nje na Ushirikiano wa Kimataifa, Mhe. Bernad K.Membe (Mb.) kama alivyoitoa Bungeni leo tarehe 07 Novemba, 2014 Mjini Dodoma kuhusu shutuma dhidi ya Serikali za China na Tanzania kujihusisha na biashara haramu ya Pembe za Ndovu.Taarifa hiyo llitolewa kwa mujibu wa Kanuni ya 49 (1) ya Kanuni za Kudumu za Bunge Toleo la 2013. Taarifa hiyo inasomeka kama liuatavyo:-


 KAULI YA WAZIRI WA MAMBO YA NJE NA USHIRIKIANO WA

KIMATAIFA KUHUSU SHUTUMA DHIDI YA SERIKALI ZA    CHINA NA TANZANIA KUJIHUSISHA NA BIASHARA HARAMU YA PEMBE ZA NDOVU INAYOTOLEWA KWA MUJIBU WA KANUNI YA 49 (1) YA KANUNI ZA KUDUMU ZA BUNGE TOLEO LA 2013

Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,
Siku ya Jana Vyombo vya Habari mbalimbali vya Ndani na Nje ya Nchi vilitoa habari kwamba ujumbe wa Rais wa China uliokuja nchmi Miezi 18 iliyopita ulijihusisha na ununuzi wa pembe za ndovu nchmi. Chanzo cha habari hizo ni taarifa ya taasisi isiyo ya kiserikali ya nchini Marekani ijulikanayo kama Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Habari hiyo imekwenda mbali zaidi kuituhumu nchi yetu na viongozi wake kutojali, wala ushughulikia tatizo la biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu.

Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,

Ninapenda kupitia Bunge lako tukufu kuutaarifu umma wa Watanzaniana dunia kwa ujumla kwamba madai yaliyotolewa na NGO hiyo ya Marekani ya kuihusisha ziara ya kihistoria ya Rais wa China kutembelea Tanzania kama nchi ya kwanza toka aingie madarakani na biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu hayana ukweli wowote. Vilevile, madai ya kwamba Serikali ya Tanzania haijali na wala haichukui hatua dhidi ya wanaojishughulisha na biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu sio kweli.

Taarifa za taasisi hii ya EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency) ni za kupikwa na kuungwa ungwa ili kuchafua heshima ya nchi yetu, pamoja na kuchafua heshima ya rafiki zetu wa Taifa la China. Ni taarifa iliyoandaliwa na kutolewa wakati huu ili kukidhi ajenda mahususi ambayo tunaifahamu fika.
Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,
Kabla sijaelezea kwanini ninasema taarifa hii sio ya kweli ningependa kwanza kulielezea Bunge lako tukufu mambo sita yafuatayo ambayo hayana ubishi:
1)    Moja, ni kweli soko kubwa la pembe za ndovu lipo China. Wanaofanya biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu hutafuta soko huko;
2)    Ni ukweli usiopingika kwamba pembe za ndovu nyingi zinazouzwa kwenye masoko haramu zinatokea katika nchi za Afrika, Tanzania ikiwa ni miongoni mwa nchi zinapotoka pembe hizo;
3)  Biashara hiyo haramu inahusisha wahalifu/ na mitandao ya wahalifu ambao wana uraia wa nchi mbalimbali zikiwemo China na Tanzania:

4)    Serikali ya Tanzania na Serikali ya China hazifanyi biashara
haramu ya pembe za ndovu na wala hazihusiki na mitandao haramu.
5)    Kwa kutambua ukubwa wa Tatizo la biashara hiyo haramu, Serikali zetu mbili zimekuwa na ushirikiano wa karibu kabisa katika kukabiliana na mitandao inayofanya biashara hiyo haramu. Vyombo vya dola vya nchi zetu mbili vimeshirikiana kwa karibu na kupashana habari kila wakati zilizowezesha kuwakamata wahusika wa biashara hiyo. Isitoshe wakati wa ziara iliyomalizika hivi majuzi Serikali zetu mbili zilisaini mkataba wa kutupatia vifaa vya kusaidia operesheni ya kupambana na ujangili wa wanyamapori - (China Aided Equipment for Forest Resources and Wildlife Conservation). Vilevile kwenye ziara hiyo tulisaini Mkataba wa kutupatia mitambo ya kisasa ya kufanya ukaguzi wa mizigo bandarini- ambayo itasaidia kubaini mizigo inayosafirishwa.
6)    Tanzania na China zilishiriki kikamilifu kwenye Mkutano wa Kimataifa wa Kudhibiti Biashara Haramu ya Pembe za ndovu (London Confrrence on Illegal Wildlife Trade) uliofanyika mwezi Februari 2014. Moja ya mafanikio makubwa ya mkutano huo ni kwa nchi za China, Botswana na Tanzania kusaini mkataba wa kupambana na biashara hiyo haramu. Hii ilikuwa ni mara ya kwanza kwa China kusaini Mkataba wa aina hiyo, jambo lililodhihirisha umakini wa Serikali ya Rais Xi Jinping kushughulikia tatizo la biashara haramu. Vilevile kabla ya mkutano huo wa London, Serikali ya China ilichoma moto hadharani shehena ya meno ya tembo haramu yaliyokuwa yakishikiliwa nchini humo.
Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,

Baada ya kusema hayo, naomba sasa naomba nitoe sababu kwanini ninasema habari za NGO ya EIA ni za uongo;
Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika,
Taarifa kama hii iliyotoka kwenye New York Times sio mara ya kwanza kutolewa. Taarifa ya aina hii iliwahi kutolewa mwaka jana. Na mtoa taarifa ambaye ametajwa kuwa chanzo cha habari ni mtu mmoja ambaye walimkuta barabarani na kuanza kumuuliza maswali wanasema. Mtu huyo sio mtumishi wa bandari wala uwanja wa ndege. Ni mpita njia tu wa mtaani. Hata video ya mahojiano ya Aljazeera inaonyesha hivyo. Ukiachilia mbali uwongo uliotolewa na bwana huyo, taasisi ya EIA imeongelea tukio la kontena lililokamatwa Bandarini likiwa na pembe za ndovu.

Ni kweli kabisa kwamba kontena la pembe lilikamatwa bandarini na vyombo vya dola. Jambo moja ambalo watu wengi hawalijui ni kwamba mafanikio ya operesheni ile yalitokana na ushirikiano wa vyombo vya usalama vya Tanzania na China. Taarifa za kiinteligensia juu ya operation hiyo kwakweli zilitoka China na kuwasilishwa taarifa hiyo kwenye Serikali ya Tanzania na ndipo operesheni ile ilipofanikiwa. Lakini habari zilizotoka kwenye mitandao zilisema kwamba Kontena limekamatwa likipelekwa kwenye meli ya kijeshi ya China...jambo ambalo sio kweli hata kidogo. (Msisitizo) Huwezi Serikali ya China ukaleta taarifa ya intelijensia Tanzania ya kuonyesha kuna kontena linakuja China, halafu wakati huohuo, Serikali ya China imetayarisha meli yake ya kijeshi kubeba hiyo kontena. Ni uongo ambao hauwezi kukubalika.

Mbali na hayo, ziara ya Rais Xi Jinping nchini ilikuwa ya masaa 24 tu, na programu yake ilianza mara tu alipowasili nchini kuanzia saa 9 alasiri hadi saa 4 usiku kwenye dhifa ya taifa. Siku ya pili ratiba ilianza asubuhi kwa uzinduzi wa Ukumbi wa Mikutano ya Kimataifa wa Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Baada ya hapo Rais Xi na ujumbe wake walikuwa na mikutano na Rais wa Zanzibar Mhe Dk. Ali Mohamed Shein na Rais Mstaafu wa awamu ya tatu Mhe. Benjamin William Mkapa. Baada ya hapo Rais Xi na ujumbe wake walienda kwenye makaburi ya Wachina kule Majohe na kisha wakaondoka kwenda uwanja wa ndege. Sasa hizo shopping zinazoelezewa kufanywa na ujumbe wa Rais Xi Jin Ping zilifanyika saa ngapi? Zilifanyika usiku wa manane?
 
Jambo muhimu la kujiuliza hapa, ni je hiyo taarifa ya Rais Xi na ujumbe wake kubeba pembe za ndovu iweje itoke leo? Kwanini wakati huu baada ya ziara ya Rais wetu nchini
China? Kwanini itoke baada ya Mhe Rais Kikwete kuhutubia kuhusu mafanikio ya ziara yake nchini China? Jibu ni moja tu. Wivu.
Wasambazaji wa taarifa hizi hawaitakii mema kabisa nchi yetu. Hawawatakii mema marafiki zetu wa China.
    Wakubwa hawa hawataki tujengewe reli ya TAZARA na reli ya kati kwa viwango vya kisasa kabisa.
    Wakubwa hawa hawataki tujengewe bandari ya Bagamoyo, bandari ya kisasa ambayo italeta makontena mengi na meli nyingi katika nchi yetu.
    Hawataki tupatiwe mikopo nafuu kwa ajili ya maendeleo ya nchi yetu.
    Na wala hawataki tujenge vyuo vya ufundi nchini, achia mbali kutaka kupata scholarships nyingi kutoka China kwa ajili ya Watanzania haswa katika upande wa gesi na mafuta.
Wanaweka wivu, hawataki na sisi tuendelee kama walivyoendelea wenzetu. Inashangaza kuona, wanawachukia lakini huku wakiwategemea Wachina hao hao. Wao wangependa peke yao wafanye biashara na China, wakachukue mikopo China, wavutie uwekezaji kutoka China, lakini tukifanya sisi Watanzania au Waafrika inakuwa nongwa. Tusikubali upuuzi wa aina hii. Sisi ni taifa huru, hatuwezi kuchaguliwa marafiki wala hatutarithishwa maadui. Tutaendeleza ushirikiano wetu wa kidugu na China na kamwe hatutorudi nyuma kutokana na maneno ya uwongo na uzushi.
Aidha, ninapenda kulihakikishia Bunge lako Tukufu Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika kwamba Serikali yetu haitorudi nyuma. Tutaendeleza mapambano dhidi ya biashara haramu ya pembe za ndovu. Na wale wote wanaoshughulika na biashara hizo, siku zao zimefikia mwisho.
Ahsanteni kwa kunisikiliza.
 


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