The Globe and Mail reports in its Tuesday edition that a consultant hired by Reconnaissance Energy Africa in Southern Africa has launched an extraordinary series of attacks on environmentalists, accusing them of "sabotage" and "colonialism" as the company begins drilling in a region near the Okavango Delta.
The Globe's Geoffrey York writes that Vancouver-based ReconAfrica hired consultant Dr. Sindila Mwiya to conduct environmental assessments for its oil exploration project in Namibia and Botswana. However, his bitter criticism of activists has led to calls for his removal over his apparent lack of neutrality.
The confrontation is a sign of the rising emotions surrounding the oil project. Many environmentalists worry it could jeopardize biologically sensitive sites. Dr. Mwiya has sent a series of e-mails to environmentalists and local politicians describing the activists as "messiahs" and "opportunists" motivated by greed to "sabotage national development." Chris Brown, an environmental scientist and former senior official in the Namibian government who now heads the Namibian Chamber of Environment, said Dr. Mwiya's e-mails were "insulting and bullying" and undermine confidence in the consultation process.
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