December 4, 2022

Watetezi Media

Official Website for Watetezi Media

Local residents in Ngorongoro Conservation Area oppose deliberate and systematic blockades to basic services 

I have spoken with my brothers and sisters as well as leaders in Ngorongoro ward, and what they said brought me to a disturbing awakening. In fact the people of Ngorongoro are mired in a serious humanitarian crisis after secret ploys to evict them from their ancestral land that have been going on for nearly one year now.

Ngorongoro ward is among three wards in Ngorongoro district, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the entire land area of Ngorongoro with a total of 90,000 inhabitants. The changes of the law governing the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) that took place in 1975, to a great extent curbed human activities such as prohibiting farming, apportioning special grazing areas and water sources exclusively for wild animals, to take away areas with important water sources and give them to investors interested in tourism, to control human settlement and people’s movements.

Although many years have passed now since 1975, community services in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, have not been satisfactory. The situation worsened last year and in the beginning of this year when the government announced its plans to evict pastoralists in that area on the grounds that they are destroying wildlife sanctuaries. What is being done against the Maasai community in Ngorongoro is clear discrimination which will almost certainly usher in a serious humanitarian crisis.  I am not sure the President, Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan is aware of this worsening state of affairs in Ngorongoro.

The Maasai communities have been the custodian of natural resources in the shared ecosystem for more than 2000 years, but today they are being treated with disdain, humiliated and being made to a laughing stock of the nation, merely for maintaining their distinctive way of life which is nomadic pastoralism that is friendly to wildlife and environment.The demonised Masai community in Ngorongoro are systemically denied access to basic services a move that make their plight even worse.

There are several important projects that have been stopped in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area contrary to their initial schedules. The projects  including those funded with COVID-19 grants, NCA, Central Government and Local Government which were supposed to be implemented by the district authorities in collaboration with development partners including faith-based organizations.

I would like to present to you some of the projects which were to be implemented by the Ngorongoro District Council but for some unknown reasons have been put to a halt:The following are some of the projects that failed to be implemented  because they did not get permit from the NCAA;

(a)  Health Projects 

 

  1. Nainoka dispensary Tsh, 500,000,000, a project conceived by Regional Administration and Local Government (REALOC)
  2. Nainokako dispensary Tsh.80,000,000- A brain child of  NCA
  3. Masamburai dispensary Tsh.75,000,000
  4. Ngoile dispensary Tsh. 50,000,000
  5. Osinoi dispensary Tsh. 115,000,000

 

(b) Water projects

  1. Water pump renovation at Lemuta 80,000,000
  2. Alailai water project Tsh.200,000,000
  3. Ngoile water project  200,000,000
  4. Masamburai water project 151,000,000

 (C) Education projects

  1. Embarway Secondary school Tsh.100,000,000
  2. Nainokanoka secondary school Tsh.80,000,000

3.Ngorongoro girls school 180,000,000

  1. Endulen primary school Tsh.100,000,000
  2. Ereko Primary school Tsh.70,000,000
  3. Irkipori Primary School  Tsh.40,000,000
  4. Irkeepus primary school Tsh.40,000,000
  5. Ndonyo primary school  Tsh.40,000,000
  6. Kakesio primary school Tsh.20,000,000
  7. Kakesio primary school Tsh.20,000,000
  8. St Luke pre& primary school, the on-going construction of dormitories, class rooms and administration building has been stopped.

 

This state of affair is just a tip of an iceberg which highlight a bleak future for the people of Ngorongoro.Let me be clear, there are quite a lot of bad things going on in Ngorongoro which are not known to the general public in the rest of the country. My brothers and sisters there have been socially isolated by different groups. For instance there are quite a few Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) which are boldly determined to defend them. Most of those are pastoral organisations based in the northern Arusha city. These organisations are doing this activism work under constant intimidation. Worse still they have also been shunned by the Media, which has been informally banned from disserminating any information in favor of the people of Ngorongoro. Most of the Media coverage in Ngorongoro is biased toward the interests of the state.

Just a few media organizations have the guts to report the Maasai pastoralists concerns. To my surprise even prominent international media organization have neglected to report on the worsening plight of the Maasai people in Ngorongoro   Other groups that have abandoned the people of Ngorongoro, a fragment of development partners group, clerics, international organizations, UN and its  agencies, the Parliament of Tanzania etc. Other groups including the parliament of Tanzania. Some Members of Parliament have insinuated that the Ngorongoro pastoralists must be forcefully evicted and branded them with every unwanted fame. A few media organisations have also been used in a smear campaign against the Maasai and peddled  hate speech, accusations of tribalism that have strained relations between the Maasai people and their government.

Moreover top government officials have routinely issued statements against the Maasai people and those who defend them which have caused great panic and uncertainties. For instance, the statement by the former Minister of Tourism and Natural resources who stated that: “ The Maasai of Ngorongoro are originally from Sudan. And even today  as census exercise in Ngorongoro is going on the  people are not certain if they will be  counted. Some of us are finding it very hard to consider ourselves human rights defenders during this time  where in fact the Maasai people badly need our support. Across the world, any decision to relocate people is usually handled with great care by involving different players since  human rights are likely to be violated as it is the case now.

My call to the government,

We recommend that while other processes of relocating people who wish to move out willingly are going on, we urge Pindi Chana, the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources allow the people to be served with basic services. And their human rights be respected.  Like other Tanzanians, the people of Ngorongoro are entitled to basic services, other processes to relocate people should not be an excuse for halting basic community services to the people who are still residing there. We hope that Minister Chana will do all she could to release the essential projects, at the same time the dialogue with the people about the plan to depopulate the area are on-going. I advise that this move to stop community projects should not be used as a reason to mobilize people to flee voluntarily – If that is the case there is no voluntary consent of the people but they simply do so to save their lives.

 

Adv. Kasale Olengurumwa- from Ngorongoro- 6/4/2022