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Evictions in Tanzania

There have been evictions starting on 12 November at Makao Wildlife Management Area in Meatu District south of Serengeti NP and near Maswa Game Reserve and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The alleged “invaders” are blamed for severely degrading the land because of overgrazing, farming and other human induced activities as well as failing to comply with the WMAs requirements to live far from the protected areas.

Contributed by Susanna Nordlund

PINGOs Forum made a media mission fact finding report in May 2011 when the evictions were a threat.

This didn’t stop confused articles talking about "invaders”.

The whole thing went quiet after a court injunction putting the evictions on hold in July.

Here’s a research summary on WMAs in Tanzania:

WMAs “are the mechanism established for implementing community wildlife management in Tanzania”. Though maybe this investor in the area of Makao WMA has a better understanding about who imposes WMAs writing this in the July newsletter:

“However a current challenge for the Mwiba anti-poaching teams is the significant number of people living within the Wildlife Management Area (WMA – an area which the government has designed a wildlife haven) Many people of the surrounding areas have disregarded the status of the WMA and moved in, pushing the wildlife out. They do not pose a direct threat to Mwiba Ranch, but our anti-poaching teams, who have jurisdiction over portions of the WMA, are having to work hard to restore the area to its rightful state.”

The September newsletter says, “Beginning in October the government of Tanzania will be helping people move out of the Wildlife Management Area that borders Mwiba Wildlife Reserve, which they have been illegally residing in the last couple of years. Mwiba will be providing logistical assistance to the government as well as to the individuals that will be moving out. It will be a sensitive time, but one that the scouts are prepared to handle.”

In November people were evicted, houses burned and women had to give birth in the bush.

The Regional Commissioner was “unhappy” with reporters.

I’m waiting for a better account of these evictions to be published in the Mwanahalisi. Though I don’t think the RC will like that one either.

High Court summons Meatu DED over pastoralists` eviction

4th July 2011

Meatu District Executive Director Upendo Sanga has been summonsed by the High Court to defend her decision of evicting 3,500 pastoralists and farmers from a designated wildlife management area located adjacent to Maswa Game Reserve and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA).

According to a summons order dated June 29 issued by the Registrar of the High Court, Tabora District, Sanga is required to appear in court "in person at 9 am tomorrow morning."


The summons came after 700 pastoralists from the seven villages, who allegedly invaded Makao-based Wildlife Management Area (WMAs), filed a case in the High Court opposing the district council’s decision to evict them from their customary land, where they have been living for decades.


The eviction exercise was expected to affect over 3,500 people in Makao, Mwabagimu, Mbushi, Lukale, Jinamo, Irambandogo and Sapa villages.


Early this year, Sanga issued a six-month notice for people living in those areas to vacate the area by June 30, this year, for allegedly “invading” and degrading environment in the area, which has already been given to an investor. Makao WMA has over 80,000 ha of land.


In the case - number 19 of 2011 - which has been filed by Jitungulu Bwandi and others, the DED is required to provide reasons as to why her authority decided to evict the pastoralists from their permanent settlements.

The case will be heard under the certificate of urgency.


Before getting the court summons, Meatu District authority was in final touches of carrying out a massive operation of evicting the pastoralists on July 1 using police and other security organs.


On Thursday last week, Meatu District Commissioner Abiudi Saideya said that the deadline was set for June 30 and that time was over.


He added that the operation to drive out the “invaders” was to be accomplished within three days effective July 1.


The DC added: “They were initially supposed to vacate the forest reserve by December, 2010, but we gave them more time following appeals from the residents, local authorities and the area Member of Parliament requesting that the trespassers be given more time to demolish their houses and harvest whatever crops they had cultivated.”


Saideya further noted that the pastoralists were given enough time to vacate the area on environmental degradation concerns, though it seems many failed to comply with the government order.


“We have treated this matter humanely because we had given them enough time to voluntarily vacate the area before June 30, and the time has elapsed,” he said.


The process by district authorities to remove the said people from the area started way back in 2008, but gained tempo in December last year.


The alleged “invaders” are blamed for severely degrading the land because of overgrazing, farming and other human induced activities as well as failing to comply with the WMAs requirements to live far from the protected areas.