WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE – BUT NO WATER FOR THE RESIDENTS OF TARIME, TANZANIA?

An open letter to His Excellency, President John P. Magufuli, President of Tanzania
By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

In our Holy Bible: Ecclesiastes 1:9
That which has been, is that which will be, And that which has been done, is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.

A few days ago, President Magufuli said that many still face shortage of water in our country!
There is nothing new under the sun!

The reason for the shortage of water is ONE word: CORRUPTION

Only days ago, President Magufuli gave an order to the National Environment Management Council to investigate the water pollution caused by Acacia Mining’s North Mara gold mine that has basically destroyed the water sources in the Tarime region causing our Sisters and Brothers there to suffer from toxic water and water shortages, year after year after year.

The President said openly, as quoted by IPPMedia: “He had reached the decision after a previous assessment carried out by NEMC when he was a minister for Works was tampered with.”

But Mr. President, we will show you that Acacia Mining is tampering far worse than only with that assessment that you refer to as quoted by IPPMedia and worse, there are CORRUPT officials assisting Acacia Mining.
There is nothing new under the sun!

The problem, Mr. President, is that Acacia Mining will continue to control the next assessment reports exactly as they controlled the reports in past years unless YOU, MR. PRESIDENT takes steps to remove the CORRUPT people from positions of responsibility.

Let us look at the facts:

January 14, 2016:
The Citizen published a report that the Government wants proof that North Mara mine water is safe.
At that time, deputy environment minister, Luhaga Mpina, led a team of experts who took samples of water from Acacia North Mara Mine for tasting and testing.
Mr. Mpina was quoted as saying:
“We cannot just ignore the plea of the people that has been going in for years. We must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the water is safe for the use of human and other animals”.
Here is the link: www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/1840340-3032850-ltcmbdz/index.html
Nothing happened! Where was deputy environment minister, Luhaga Mpina?

January 26, 2016:
The Citizen published a follow up report to the previous report on January 14, 2016.
The report headlines was: Acacia Mining to implement better waste management.
The mine’s general manager, Gary Chapman said the company complies with all government’s directives to ensure environmental safety and health of the surrounding community. Absolute lies!
Mr. Mpina said that he gave Acacia Mining a “deadline of 2 weeks” at that time. Also he “stressed his shock about how the mine stored the toxic water..”
Here is the link: Acaci to implement better waste management
Nothing happened! Where was deputy environment minister, Luhaga Mpina?

February 01, 2016:
The Citizen published yet another follow up report to the two previous reports on January 14 and 26, 2016.
Water samples were again taken from Acacia’s North Mara mine for testing. Mr. Mpina was quoted as saying that there were still many complaints about safety of the water even as the Acacia management claimed they had permits for discharging treated water into River Mara.
Mr. Mpina even took the boxes containing the samples, apparently not trusting they would be safe in anyone’s else’s custody.
Here is the link: Water samples from mine taken for tests
What happened to the testing? 
Nothing happened! Where was deputy environment minister, Luhaga Mpina?

We contacted deputy Minister Mpina on his phone (0759 278388) to ask for progress updates for our Sisters and Brothers suffering from having little or no clean water.
Sadly, Mr. Mpina chose not to reply to our request.

May 3, 2016:
A laboratory testing report was published on behalf of the National Ground Water Association regarding the North Mara water. Very briefly, as a summary, the report stated:
>> Eleven trace elements (Al, As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn) were determined, and averages of Fe and Al concentrations were higher than levels accepted by the Tanzanian drinking water guideline.
>> Levels of Pb in three samples were higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) drinking water guidelines of 10 and 15 µg/L, respectively.
>> One sample contained a higher As level than the WHO and USEPA guideline of 10 µg/L.
>> Analysis confirmed a relationship between element concentration and distance of a sampling site from the mine tailings dam. This relationship raises concerns about the increased risks of trace elements to people and ecosystem health.
>> A metal pollution index also suggested a relationship between elemental concentrations in the groundwater and the sampling sites’ proximity from the mine tailings dam.

May 9, 2016:
I sent an email directly to Dep. Minister Mpina to ask for progress updates for our Sisters and Brothers suffering from having little or no clean water. Mr. Mpina chose not to reply to our email.

May 12, 2016:
I sent a follow-up email to Dep. Minister Mpina to ask for a reply but he did not respond at all.

May 16, 2016:
I sent yet another follow-up email to Dep. Minister Mpina to ask for a reply but he did not respond at all.

June 20, 2016:
I sent an email to Dep. Minister Mpina again. This time, the question was regarding the TSh 40 million fines that Dep Minister Mpina was involved in issuing in January 2016 for companies breaching environment management laws and regulations.
Dep Minister shrugged off the question and sent a short answer: 
“Thanx Samantha NEMC will respond accordingly”.

Nothing! Everything was swept under the carpet and hidden away from the People of Tanzania.

July 19, 2016:
The Citizen published a report that the previous Minister of Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo promised that the Government will find a new water source for those same residents suffering from the clean water shortage as a result of the river that they depend on was contaminated by toxic waste by Acacia’s North Mara mine.
Village to get fresh water source amid poison concerns
Nothing happened! Where was Minister Muhongo and also deputy environment minister, Luhaga Mpina?

July 18, 2016:
Another report in the media that residents in communities around the region near the Acacia North Mara Gold Mine still insisted that the water was not safe for human consumption.
After that… Nothing! All swept under the carpet.

MR. PRESIDENT:
We are now more almost THREE years since the first media report of Dep Minister Mpina’s visit and on site investigation where he was quoted saying:
We cannot just ignore the plea of the people that has been going in for years. We must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the water is safe for the use of human and other animals“.
Almost THREE YEARS and no solution to this ever surfaced.
Why is Minister Luhaga Mpina not accountable and not responsible for this gross incompetence and lack of taking action? 
And the risk and danger still remains for the women, men, elderly, children and their animals and cattle in communities around the region near the Acacia North Mara Gold Mine – and we did not even raise the danger factors for the fish and water fauna and flora in the rivers and streams in that region.

Mr. President, you said yourself only days ago: “They (Acacia Mining) take our gold but they don’t want to give us the water

We do not doubt that there is more to this terrible, sad situation that we do not know. But Sir, look at this picture that IPPMedia published only a few days ago :

ipp-media-11-9-18-jpg.863823

The four inset pictures of OUR PEOPLE suffering from the toxic water caused by Acacia Mining is enough to shock anyone.
What is the value of a Tanzanian’s child’s skin?
What is the value of a Tanzanian’s child’s organs?
What is the value of a Tanzanian’s woman’s uterus?

President Magufuli, as much as you are busy and under pressure with managing our country’s affairs, we hope you, Sir, will agree that this is a matter of possible fraud and corruption for the PCCB to investigate and for certain officials who failed in their duties within your Government, to be replaced the same as you demonstrated with other officials.

More important, our People around North Mara mine need genuine clean water.

Sisters and Brothers of Tanzania and all around the world – please speak out…. 
Send emails to our IKULU (Presidency) 
Our Leaders want to hear from the Nation. This is OUR NEW Tanzania !!

Our President :                ikulu@ikulu.go.tz
Our Chief Secretary :     cs@gov.go.tz
Our Attorney General:  ag@agctz.go.za
Environment Ministry: dg@nemc.or.tz
Water Ministry:               ps@maji.go.tz

WHAT IS MORE PRECIOUS : WATER OR GOLD?

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