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Loliondo Bogus Murder Case Dropped after Over Five Months.

While the Horror Worsens with Fake and Forced Land Use Plans

I needed to write a briefer, clearer blog post about the brutal and lawless land demarcation – robbing the Maasai of Loliondo of vitally important grazing land - committed by the entire blood-soaked and illegitimate Tanzanian government, and about the terrible (but not as terrible as reported in parts of the press) and partly inexplicable ruling by the EACJ on the 2017 mass arson. But the horrors just keep accumulating and I’m overwhelmed. State security and surveyors have been to Loliondo to redraw village boundaries and impose land use plans with heavy intimidation, and reportedly corrupted some people. On 1st November it was announced that President Samia Suluhu Hassan on 14th October had declared the 1,500 km2 a fake and illegal “Pololeti Game Reserve”. Then the DC and an individual calling himself conservator of the illegal protected area have been threatening with further land theft, outside the 1,500 km2, via WMAs. 

Meanwhile, in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCAA, NOT to be mixed up with Loliondo), the restrictions to squeeze out the Maasai keep tightening. 

I miss the days when I was told that they Maasai of today aren’t the Maasai of 1958, meaning that they are educated, organized, and there’s no need to worry since they will stop evil government plans. It’s such a long time ago. Help is needed. People who can target President Samia in ways that will be very acutely felt, must help stopping the cruel crimes against the Maasai. Open letters are much appreciated (see below for new ones) but words are just not enough. “Words are not enough” applies to me as a blogger as well, but I don’t know what to do. 

When I was about to publish this blog post there was good news that the Director of Public Prosecution has dropped the obviously bogus “murder case” against 24 people – including all councillors from affected wards, except one who fled - who have been locked up in remand prison for over five months. I hope there isn’t a price for the release, but that hope is getting fainter by the hour. 

Meanwhile, pastoralists all over Tanzania are under attack. Seven villages around Kilimanjaro International Airport have suffered illegal planting of beacons, in Mbarali there are evictions and terrible seizure of cattle, evictions and killed pastoralists in Kilombero, and violence ordered by an anti-pastoralist councillor in Morogoro has led to one death and several injuries. 

I’ll soon write a briefer blog, hopefully with answers to some of the questions that remain.   

Where is mzee Oriais Oleng'iyo? 


 The horror

In brief, this is what has happened: 

On 8th June 2022, Wasso town was overflowing with security forces that went on to set up camps on the 90 km stretch from Ololosokwan to Piyaya, and in Malambo. Almost every Tanzania Regional Police Commissioner vehicle was seen in Loliondo on the day. The Maasai held prayers and deliberations. A coordinated threat with vicious propaganda, and an old lie from 2013, was issued primarily by Arusha RC John Mongella and PM Kassim Majaliwa, assisted by speaker of parliament Tulia Ackson, and soon joined by too many government representatives.

 

All councillors from affected wards – except the Soitsambu councillor who managed to flee - were on 9th June lured to a meeting by DC Raymond Mwangwala, they were abducted, bundled in two cars and driven to Arusha overnight. The following day illegal land demarcation - which is what Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC), that organizes hunting for Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, for years has lobbied for - began in a rain of teargas and live bullets. Many Maasai were injured and thousands fled across the border where many of them continue as refugees, also cattle. The approximately 80 years old Oriais Oleng'iyo was last seen on 10th June with bullet wounds and detained by the Field Force Unit few metres away from his home where security forces were firing fireworks. According to the RC, a police officer was killed by arrowshot.

 

 

There was a hunt for anyone who could have shared pictures of the crimes (which effectively has been done by everyone with a smartphone) and ten people, later joined by seven more, were illegally arrested, eventually, together with the councillors, charged with a bogus “murder”. The trial kept being postponed for inexistent “investigation”, and they continued locked up in remand prison for well over five months. Three were released for reasons of health and studies. The flow of information was almost completely cut after the in initial arrests.

Government representatives made multiple military style visits landing in helicopter to pose with beacons, tell lies, and issue threats. 

 

 
RC Mongella and DC Mwangwala.

 

 
Then Inspector General of Police Simon Sirro and demarcation workers.

 

 
Minister Pindi Chana and PM Kassim Majaliwa.





Minster Pindi Chana without following any law or procedure declared the illegally demarcated land as “Pololeti Game Controlled Area” (GN No.421, 2022), which was announced in a zoom meeting.

Spineless diplomats applauded Minister Ndumbaro’s obvious lies about what was happening. Though many international organisations condemned the government’s actions.

 

 
Mary Masanja, Damas Ndumbaro UAE ambassador Khalifa Abdul Rahman Al Marzouqi.

 

The much-expected court ruling in the case filed during the mass arson in 2017, and scheduled for 22nd June, was the last minute shockingly postponed to September. 

Houses were demolished or razed. TAWA illegally seized livestock and demanded extortionate “fines”. The dry season deepened without access to the most important grazing area. In Ormanie, Arash ward, on 27th June, cows, donkeys, calves, and other livestock were shot by the security forces. There were mass arrests of people accused of being “Kenyan”. 

 

 
Ormanie 27th June.

 

 
Fleeing from Malambo


On 28th September Minister Chana announced that the illegally demarcated 1,500 km2 in Loliondo had been placed under the management of the NCAA. 

On 30th September the East African Court of Justice dismissed Reference No.10 of 2017 on the grounds that the Maasai had failed to prove that the mass arson of 2017 was committed on village land and not in Serengeti National Park. 

TAWA, at the height of the dry season, continued illegal seizures of livestock and extortion of huge fines, 100,000 TShs per cow and 25,000 per sheep or goat. NCAA rangers have reportedly been trained and set up camp. In Malambo, on 8th November, the head of the NCAA camp announced that TAWA had left, and the boundaries were being guarded by the Field Force Unit.

 

On 31st October, or 1st November, it was announced that President Samia had on 14th October declared a Pololeti Game Reserve (GN No.604, 2022). It came as a nasty surprise for the lawyers that on 1st November were in court for the mention of Miscellaneous Cause No.09 of 2022, even if it seems like it was also on Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation the previous evening. 

Three court cases have been filed to stop the brutal, fake and illegal protected area: one in the High Court and two in the East African Court of Justice, the ruling in the case filed in 2017 has been appealed, and there’s a contempt of court application.

On 1st November, in an NCA advertorial in the extreme anti-Maasai newspaper the Jamhuri, a “conservator” for the fake and illegal game reserve – Pius Rwiza - spoke of how calm and wonderful everything is after the demarcation, with the big five everywhere and rain. Maybe he’d missed that it’s dry season grazing land and that all ward councillors were locked up in remand prison. He says that the Maasai understand the demarcation but must keep a further 500 metres away from it! And he wants them to create WMAs, outside the illegally demarcated 1,500 km2, which is another kind of land alienation that also was included in the OBC-funded draft district land use plan that was rejected by Ngorongoro District Council in 2011. Though most of the article is about all wonderful development projects in the 2,500 km2, which we must than the president for. It’s important that this individual, and everyone else involved in this crime, are held personally accountable.

 
Fake and forced land use plans

Towards the end of October, there were reports of a notice issued by the DC about redrawing of village boundaries with new village land use plans, and some 40 state security and surveyors on the ground. On 13th November, the chairman of Malambo village, Moitiko Risando, who had been hiding, was lured to a meeting by someone from the DC’s office, supposedly about allowing a return to some of the illegally demarcated land and then arrested, falsely accused of being in possession of arms without a permit.  As known, the Malambo ward councillor had been abducted for over five months. The government has installed the CCM ward chairman, Mapema Koima, and secretary, Thobico John Kulinja, as some kind of leaders above councillor to impose a land use plan on terrified villagers. The Malambo chairman was released after some days. I have not understood clearly if the police were paid, or if the chairman was compromised. Similarly has happened in other villages, with varying amounts of traitors. The Esero sub-village chairman of Oloipiri has praised the government in national media. In Ololosokwan the acting chairman appointed by the government is Cosmas Leitura who is not whom John Pyando had appointed as acting chairman in his absence (exile), according to the law. Some say that Cosmas is a traitor, others that he’s “cornered”, while yet others say that “everyone is a traitor”.

I’ve heard that the terrified and the corrupted have passed the fake and forced land use plans, but I’ve also heard that they have been stopped. This is one reason for the delay of this blog post. Too many questions remain. 

The criminal DC has in national media said that the 1,500 km2 is now set aside and WMAs should be added when villages have been surveyed, while for a local audience he talks about that it’s good to re-survey to stop conflicts between villages and have helpful land use plans. Those are two unrelated issues that are being mixed up very purposefully – the government’s violent grabbing of land for “conservation” and investors and the solving of local conflicts. It isn’t hard to see that the former will not be helpful to the latter. Any kind of land use plan imposed in such a time of violence, threats and illegal land alienation is of course completely illegitimate. 

Shortly after the good news that the bogus murder case was finally dismissed, I got a message from Ololosokwan:

"Demarcation starts today, there is a police car written FFU TANGA overseeing the process

Being done as we speak.

Cosmas is the perpetrator."

Dismissed immigration cases

Between 14th-17th November, nine immigration cases against 62 people who still had such cases pending after the mass arrests in June and July were discharged for want of prosecution. Among them were Rebeca Koriata from Ololosokwan, arrested and charged with not having the right documents for working in Tanzania, and her husband Jacob, basically for having been married to her since 2006. If I’ve understood correctly, Rebeca was locked up for over two weeks at Loliondo police station. This is how the Tanzanian government works with malicious prosecution for the sake of intimidation. Too lazy to even make any effort to fabricate false evidence and then when everyone is properly terrified and silenced, the case is dismissed for inaction. The same happened in 2016 when some people were charged with “espionage and sabotage” for allegedly communicating with me. And then the bogus murder case is the worst case of all.  

I hope damages will be paid for long stays at the cold and unhealthy Loliondo police station, children without both parents, uncertainty and fear, but somehow doubt it.

It was Minister of Home Affairs, Hamad Masauni, who landing in Loliondo on 15th June in military helicopter made a statement directing Immigration to strengthen border security to prevent illegal entry by foreigners and so avoid incitement activities. He also ordered NGOs to be investigated to make sure they operate within the law and don’t engage in breach of peace. Then Immigration Commissioner for Border Control and Administration, Samwel Mahirane arrived in Loliondo on 18th June to threaten people who were sabotaging the exercise and have fled. He said they are known and will all be dealt with. He threw in some threats against NGOs. These two were on 21st June followed by Commissioner General of Immigration, Anna Makakala, who arrived in Loliondo to add her statement from the warfront against the Maasai, announcing that there would be 10 days of flushing out illegal immigrants. This led to so much suffering for so many families, and almost five months later the cases were dismissed.

 

 
 
Mahirane

 
Makakala and DC Mwangwala
 

Bogus murder case dropped

In Arusha Resident Magistrate Court on 22nd November, it was announced that the Director of Public Prosecution had no intention to continue with the case against 24 people charged with the “murder” of CPL Garlus Mwita on 10th June (the day after ten accused were arrested). This came after they have been illegally locked up for over five months under much uncertainty and away from their families, while heinous crimes have been committed, and continue being committed, by the government in Loliondo. I’ve lost count of how many times this case has been postponed to give the prosecution more time for “investigation”, when everyone knows that nobody has wasted even one second on anything resembling “investigation”. This case has been pure intimidation from start to finish.

 

 

22nd November was also set for CCM elections and just after the release, the 24 met with a convoy of CCM candidates who are said to be responsible for their release. Just after one hour following the release, it turned out to be a campaign rally and the ten political leaders who were released were required to vote in the same afternoon for the RC Mongella affiliated Zelothe Stephen to be CCM Arusha chairman and vote for a businessperson called Bajuta, also Mongella’s close confidant, as Arusha representative for the CCM national elective council. As we’ve seen, RC Mongella is the appointed enforcer of the destruction of the Maasai of Ngorongoro district. 

The logical continuation now would be for the released abductees to all publicly burn their CCM member cards, but so far, they seem to be doing quite the contrary. There are fears about what price could have been paid for the release. I hope they are unfounded.

On 9th June, the day before the illegal demarcation started, the councillors of Ololosokwan, Oloipiri, Oloirien, Maaloni, Arash, Piyaya, Malambo, and two women’s special seats councillors, Kijoolu Kakiya and Taleng’o Leshoko were abducted, as was the district CCM chairman, Ndirango Laizer. DC Raymond Mwangwala lured them to a CCM meeting, they were interrogated by the District Security Committee, and then a special task force arrived to interrogate them individually. The Soitsambu councillor escaped the DC’s trap. He avoided attending the meeting and went into hiding. At midnight the leaders were put in two vehicles and driven to an unknown destination that upon arrival was identified as a smaller police station in Arusha town, Chekereni, where they were interrogated regarding “sedition” - and not murder.

Nothing was known of the whereabouts of those illegally arrested/abducted until 16th June when they were sneaked to court without any legal representation and then locked up in Kisongo remand prison. The following day it was revealed that they, and ten other arrested people from Loliondo, had been charged with murder contrary to Section 196 of the Penal Code [Cap 16 R:E 2019] in the Preliminary Inquiry case No. 11 of 2022. The murder concerned a FFU officer who was allegedly killed the day after the local leaders were arrested. Later seventeen more people were added to the charges. The second group of ten were arrested on 10th June, not allowed to contact anyone and held for four days without being fed. They were tortured and accused of reporting about violence in Loliondo, sharing photos and video clips, interrogated on suspicion of spreading false information, but later they were told a murder charge had been found and they were re-interrogated for murder. The case was up for mention in court on 30th June, but then it was postponed to 14th July for further “investigation”. One new charge was added: “conspiracy to murder”. Hearings were postponed to the 28th when charges against three of the 27 accused of murder and conspiracy to murder were dropped. Lekerenga Koyee, who's elderly and sick, Simel Parmwat who's a young student, and Fred Ledidi who's district natural resources officer and a PhD student. On 5th August, the court overruled a submission by the defence of separating murder and conspiracy charges, and the hearings were postponed to 17th August, when MP Oleshangai attended court, and there was a postponement to 30th August, when it was postponed to 13th September ... and postponed and postponed and postponed, not sure how many times.

Those arrested have obviously been political prisoners, totally innocent of “murder”, but it’s possible to keep two (or even more) thoughts at the same time, and this doesn’t mean that the political leaders among them would be angels. They all belong to the ruling CCM party and came into power through the shambolic, blood-soaked 2020 “elections”. None of them have spoken up about the killing of Salula Ngorisiolo. Even worse, at least two of them were for years on the side of OBC against the people. This year though, most of them have clearly spoken up against any land grabbing plans by the government, in protest meetings and handing over “community recommendations” to Majaliwa. Those accused who aren’t political leaders seem to have been unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and to have smartphones.

Outside court there were tears of joy. Advocate Ally Mhyellah said that the those released can sue for reparation and mentioned judicial hooliganism and shamelessness. Others outrageously thanked the perpetrators of this prolonged torture disguised as a court case … I’ll return to exactly who has said what. MP Oleshangay cried and embraced everyone.

 
 
 

The old lie

For this brutal and illegal land demarcation, the Tanzanian government has picked up an old lie, used by Minister Kagasheki in 2013, and which consists of claiming that the whole 4,000 km2 hunting block would be a protected area that has been encroached, and that out of love for the people, the government is “keeping” 1,500 km2 while “giving” the Maasai 2,500 km2, which is where you find the district headquarters with the DC’s office, the towns of Wasso and Loliondo, hospitals, forests, agricultural areas, and the horrible Thomson Safaris occupying a private nature refuge. This is where people and cattle are supposed to squeeze in. Everyone of course knows that the whole 4,000 km2 is legally registered village land.

 

This lie was brought back by Damas Ndumbaro on 8th March this year in an interview on Deutsche Welle, and before that it’s been used by Maghembe during the mass arson in 2017 when his Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the DC were telling another story, and it was also used in November 2017 in the Attorney General’s response to Reference No.10 of 2017, but then the government’s witnesses switched to a completely different lie in 2018. After the DW interview, Ndumbaro has held several meetings with diplomats to tell them lies about Loliondo and NCA. He’s done this before and after the brutal attack on Loliondo, and both while he was Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, and as Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. Ndumbaro has held these disinformation meetings together with Deputy Minister Mary Masanja, Director of Wildlife, Maurus Msuha, and (now former) Minister of Foreign Affairs Liberata Mulamula. Remember their names. Their day of reckoning must come.
 
On 15th June, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Tanzania Mission to the UN in Geneva, Hoyce Temu, in a widely shared clip, denied any state violence, repeating the government lie about a “protected area” that had been “encroached” and about “peaceful talks” with local residents that agreed with the government “keeping”  1,500 km2 as a protected area, that a minority against the exercise made recordings while posing threateningly and combined this with unrelated pictures, that the government has called on anyone alleging to have been attacked to come forward for the law to take its course and for treatment, but that nobody has come forward. This was while all councillors from affected wards were still abducted at unknown location and before they were charged with a demented murder case.

 


The latest public and publicised international disinformation session by the Tanzanian government was held on 23rd October at the 73rd session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in Banjul, by the Tanzanian representative, Deputy Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs Geophrey Mizengo Pinda. Besides repeating the current lies that were brought back by Ndumbaro in March, Pinda Jr’s said that the Germans would have found Loliondo empty in 1891 and made it a protected area. This differs from what Ndumbaro has been telling diplomats, which has been the same lie but mentioning the British in 1951. Perhaps there’s too much evidence and too many people alive from the 1950s … It’s particularly sad to see Geophrey Pinda repeating the lie, since it was his father, PM Mizengo Pinda, who on 23rd September 2013 in Wasso declared that the land belonged to the Maasai who should go on with their lives as usual, and that Kagasheki would not be allowed to bother them anymore.

What happened between the speech in Wasso by the father and the one in Banjul by the son was that in 2013 the Loliondo Maasai were at their highest point of unity and seriousness. OBC had held the 4,000 km2 hunting block, covering the whole of Loliondo division and parts of Sale since 1993, but always wanted to reduce it to their core hunting area next to Serengeti National Park and to make this into a protected area. A local police state had developed, in which government employees and an assortment of traitors were working for OBC, which was copied and perfected by Thomson Safaris. Anyone speaking up was called to the district security committee and threatened. There was a frustratingly fearful environment since I first got to know about Loliondo, but it has kept getting so much worse.

In the drought year 2009, the Maasai were attacked in OBC’s preferred area, the Field Force Unit and OBC rangers razed hundreds of bomas, livestock were scattered into extreme drought areas, and 7-year old Nashipai Gume was lost in the chaos. There was hard work to get organized so that the illegal 2009 operation would never be repeated, and in 2011 a draft district land use plan – funded by OBC and proposing the 1,500 km2 protected area - was defeated by the Maasai, some of whom then thought it safe to reconcile with OBC.

The government and the investors countered by increasing divide and rule, which made some traitors hurt the land struggle very much by praising investors while insulting and threatening activists, thinking that such behaviour would benefit them personally, and that the land couldn’t be taken anyway. Some of those traitors have now been political prisoners themselves for over five months. 

Then came John Pombe Magufuli who didn’t have any personal anti-Maasai feelings, but wanted to crush anyone speaking up about anything, with zero tolerance for political opposition, including inside his own party. Repression and fear increased – with longer and crazier arrests of perceived Loliondo activists. By 2016 local leaders were so weakened by terror that PM Majaliwa could enter the stage with a select committee, set up by then Arusha RC Gambo. The committee handed over a sad compromise proposal to Majaliwa and were waiting for his decision, which is why it was seen as most “unexpected” when on 13th August 2017 an illegal mass arson operation, like the one in 2009, was initiated and continued, on and off, well into October. Hundreds of bomas were razed to the ground by Serengeti rangers, assisted by NCA rangers and those from OBC, NCA, TAWA/KDU, local police and others. People were beaten and raped, illegally arrested, and cattle seized. The illegal operation was in late October stopped by the new minister Hamis Kigwangalla who also made splendid promises that OBC would have to leave Tanzania before 2018. This is seen as a good time, even when already in December 2017, Majaliwa announced that OBC would stay, and that his terrible and disappointing decision was to via a legal bill set up a special authority to manage the land. OBC’s own journalist Manyerere Jackton celebrated in the Jamhuri newspaper, but the implementation was delayed, and no legal bill has been seen. 

2018 was a year of extreme terror and violence, almost complete silence and many unanswered questions. A military camp was set up in Olopolun near Wasso, and eventually made permanent with funds from NCAA. The government tried to derail Reference No.10 of 2017 in the East African Court of Justice via police harassment of local leaders and villagers. Then the soldiers started attacking and torturing groups of people, while all leaders stayed silent. The interim orders granted by the court on 25th September were brutally violated already in early November when the soldiers started beating people and chasing them and their livestock away from wide areas around OBC camp, including razing bomas in Kirtalo and Ololosokwan. Then they set fire to more bomas in the Leken area of Kirtalo on 22nd December. Local leaders were shockingly silent, with the excuse of fear for their lives, since they thought that the brutality was directly ordered by Magufuli. When RC Gambo in January 2019 condemned the crimes in a very vague way, they changed to thinking that OBC’s director had contracted the soldiers. 

After more illegal arrests at the start of 2019, there were “good” times again when OBC’s director Isaack Mollel was charged with economic sabotage and locked up for a lengthy stay in remand prison until he got out using plea bargaining. For some time, OBC sharply toned down their presence on the ground. Though already in September 2019 a genocidal Multiple Land Use Model review proposal for NCA included turning the 1,500 km2 in Loliondo into a protected area and annexing it to NCA. While there were many protests by the Maasai of NCA, local Loliondo leaders almost pretended not to have noticed and the threat kept simmering low, until it was brutally and lawlessly implemented in 2022. 

In 2021, the death of Magufuli was a relief until it was clear that Samia Suluhu Hassan not only continued with her predecessor’s terror but adding a personal hatred against the Maasai while elevating tourism to state religion with a cheesy tv travel show as her gospel. The new DED Jumaa Mhina started working to kill the court cases against land grabbing “investors”. Though the village chairmen stood their ground. The case against Thomson Safaris in the Tanzanian court of appeal, however, was in 2022 killed using a law that was introduced after the case was filed. 

The worst year ever started already on 11th January 2022, when Arusha RC John Mongella summoned village and ward leaders from villages with land in the 1,500 km2 to inform them that the government would make a painful decision for the broader interest of the nation. The leaders, even those who for years had worked for OBC and against the people, refused to accompany the RC for a tour of the 1,500 km2, or to sign the attendance list. On 13th-14th January in Oloirien there was a public protest meeting and a statement by village, ward, and traditional leaders.

 


On 14th February, Majaliwa came and wasn’t much better than Mongella, but too well-received, since something worse was expected, because of the crazy anti-Maasai hate campaign in media, and parliamentarians calling for tanks to be sent to Ngorongoro.

Three days later, on 17th February in NCA, not Loliondo, Majaliwa ordered the disputed land to be marked by beacons, “so that we may know the boundaries” – while claiming that this is NOT a trick!

Then Ndumbaro on 8th March re-introduced Kagasheki’s lies in an interview with DW Kiswahili, and on the 11th Majaliwa again mentioned beacons and water projects for Loliondo when informing parliamentarians about a fake spectacle that he had set up in Arusha, without people from Ngorongoro, the previous day.

At a huge protest meeting in Arash on 19th March, several recently reawakened leaders spoke up in defence of the land, among them the Arash ward councillor Methew Siloma spoke up very clearly and strongly. The message from this meeting was:

-PM Majaliwa is a liar.

-The Maasai are not renouncing one square inch of land.

-They request to meet with the president, since Majaliwa can’t be trusted.

 


 On 31st March Abdulrahman Kinana was brought in from the cold, after having fallen out with Magufuli, and is now Vice-Chairman of CCM mainland. Kinana is one of OBC’s and Sheikh Mohammed’s best and oldest friends since at least 1993.

CCM councillors that had spoken up against plans of robbing the Maasai of the 1,500 km2 Osero were being intimidated, arrested, and summoned to be “interrogated” in Arusha. The councillors of Arash and Malambo had to keep reporting to the police.

On 25th May a committee handed over their reports of “community views” on both NCA and the 1,500 km2 Osero in Loliondo to PM Majaliwa who said that he’d work on the recommendations. The Loliondo and Sale report recommended a stop to any plans of alienating the 1,500 km2, investigations into human rights violations, and the removal of OBC.

 On 3rd June, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Pindi Chana in her budget speech announced that her ministry expected to upgrade Loliondo to a Game Reserve, but she did this while listing huge areas of Tanzania for the same expectation, which didn’t make it sound believable or realistic in any way, and there was hardly any reaction, except for an intervention by Ngorongoro MP Emmanuel Oleshangai.

 Then the government exploded in violence and lawlessness and robbed the Maasai of the 1,500 km2 Osero.

 Court cases and the government’s brutal and wildly shifting lies

Reference No. 10 of 2017

In the blog post from 2nd October, I wrote about the terrible and partly inexplicable ruling on Reference No. 10 of 2017 Ololosokwan Village Council & 3 Others versus the Attorney General of the United Republic of Tanzania in the East African Court of Justice. Since there’s so much misinformation – created by Agence France-Presse, saying that the court upheld the government’s decision to cordon off the land, and spread by people who really should know better - I’ll briefly repeat what happened. 

The judges dismissed the case, since they found that the Maasai had failed to prove that the evictions operation in 2017 took place on village land and not in Serengeti National Park, as claimed by the government’s witnesses in 2018.

Such a ruling should just not have been possible when even the government’ own, very public, documents so clearly show that the 2017 illegal mass arson was indeed committed in the 1,500 km2 area of village land:

-The DC’s official order.

-The press statement by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

-The 2017 operation map by TANAPA.

-The DC quoted in the anti-Maasai press.

-And the attorney general’s response to Reference No. 10 of 2017 in November the same year.

(See previous blog post).

 This ruling is exactly what the government wanted in 2018, but not what it wanted in November 2017 when the attorney general’s response was to lie that the 1,500 km2 was already the kind of protected area that’s been brutally and illegally declared this year, first by Minister Chana in June and then by President Samia in October. And it’s not exactly what the government wants now, since the ruling also establishes that it’s common ground between the parties that the applicants are registered and certified villages with titles to land adjoining Serengeti National Park.

The ruling was accompanied by strange and chaotic behaviour by the judges. It was first scheduled for 22nd June, amid government extreme brutality and lawlessness in violation of the interim orders issued on 25th September 2018, but just the day before there was a last-minute postponement to September.

Eventually, the date was set for 29th September, but on the 28th, there was yet another last-minute postponement, this time to the 30th. 28th September was also the day that Chana announced that the illegally demarcated 1,500 km2 had been placed under NCAA.

When the ruling finally was to be read, the court ordered journalists to be stopped from recording. The principal judge wasn’t present. Charles Nyachae – whose father is an infamous grabber of Maasai land in Kenya – read the ruling, that was also presided by Audace Ngiye, and the judges Richard Muhumuza and Richard Wejuli, who didn’t mention their particulars, and never presided during the hearing of the case. Reportedly, there was one more unknown judge. With all this extra time for writing it, the ruling doesn’t mention the court’s own interim orders, only considers a few Maasai witnesses whose testimonies it finds contradicting and insufficient, but without mentioning the extreme contradiction between the attorney general in 2017 and the government witnesses in 2018. The ruling mentions that one of the Maasai witnesses said he was acting chairperson of “Kilolo” village and was informed that homesteads had been destroyed in “Olototokum” village. Such villages don’t exist but refer to “Oloirien” and “Ololosokwan” respectively. Did anyone even understand what the witnesses were saying?

Were the judges compromised? Were they too lazy or busy to process how demented the government lies were? Were the villagers’ representatives too disorganized to properly explain?

The Notice of Appeal was filed on 5th October and a comprehensive Memorandum of Appeal was filed on 4th November and is now referred to as Appeal No. 12 of 2022 East Africa Court of Justice.

Application No.2 of 2022

On 21st January 2022, the village chairmen filed an extremely urgent contempt of court application against DED Jumaa Mhina’s intimidation to make them withdraw Reference No.10 of 2017, RC John Mongellas’s threats to invade and partition the 1,500 km2 and against then still Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Damas Ndumbaro. These threats were all in contempt of the interim orders issued on 25th September 2018 that was meant to restrain the government from any evictions, burning of homesteads, or confiscating of cattle, and from harassing or intimidating the applicants.

 

 
21st January 2022

 

This first Application No.17 of 2017 had been sought at the same time as the main reference was filed, during the mass arson and other human rights crimes of 2017 that had been stopped almost a year before the very important orders were granted, so “extremely urgent” can sadly never stop ongoing human rights crimes. Another affidavit was filed after every court order, and everything else … had been violated in this year’s brutal and illegal demarcation exercise. 

This contempt of court application was heard in Kampala on 11th November. Main counsel Don Deya and Praisegod Joseph was present physically, others digitally. The government (respondent) presented preliminary objections in a reportedly incoherent manner saying that Application No.2 of 2022, and the interim orders from September 2018 had been overtaken by events and nullified with the ruling on 30th September, that besides not even mentioning the application or the interim orders, ruled that the crimes that the 2018 orders were supposed to prevent a repeat of, in spite of overwhelming evidence, could not be proven to have taken place in 2017. 

We now have 424 illegally and brutally planted beacons standing there on the ground, and no less than two government notices proving the crimes of 2022. Will that be enough for the court?

 

 
On 3rd November, the government – via Wildlife Conservation Officer Emmanuel Daniel Pius from TAWA - also (finally) filed an affidavit responding the Application No.2 of 2022. In true Tanzanian government style, this individual lies that the government has always complied with the interim orders.
 
Further, this Emmanuel Daniel Pius denies the meeting convened by the DED on 9th September 2021 to intimidate the village chairmen to withdraw Reference No.10 of 2017 (and the case against Thomson Safaris) and the meeting in January 2022 in which the Arusha RC issued threats about the 1,500 km2. He states that the disputed land does not belong to the villages, but to Serengeti National Park, as if he would have missed the long and loud and lying row of government representatives saying that the demarcation is resizing the 4,000 km2 Loliondo GCA to 1,502km2, even when he himself in another response repeats those lies. He even denies TAWA’s main activity saying that its officials have never “approached” villagers telling them not to graze their livestock in the disputed area! When they have seized thousands of cattle and demanded extortionate “fines”, with official invoices …

 

 
DED Mhina's anti-court case meeting.

 

Now Application No.2 of 2022 will be heard at some future point when the court disposes of the preliminary objections.

“Pololeti” cases

On 16th August, Reference No.37 of 2022 was filed in the East African Court of Justice by six Loliondo residents. The village chairman of Ololosokwan, John Pyando, is one of them. The long and well-written (so it seems to me as a non-expert) reference establishes that Pindi Chana’s declaration of the “protected area” is an illegal, unreasonable, irrational, procedural impropriety, in breach of both the rules of natural justice and the doctrine of legitimate expectation.

The government response to the reference and to the affidavits was filed already on 28th September, but to my frustration not shared with me until 8th November*. Anyway, as expected, the lies are crazy and shameless. The response is written by one Fidelis Kapalata, described as principal officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, and involved in the brutal demarcation exercise.  He wants the reference struck out for being incurably defective. Then, as is the current so very obvious government lie, Kapalata claims that the whole 4,000 km2 area has been reserved land since 1951 and has now been resized to 1,502 km2 while 2,458km2 has been allocated to villagers. They are referred to as villagers when the existence of village land in Loliondo is denied.  

*I include complaints line this to remind my friends of always sharing everything with me. 

According to Kapalata the demarcation exercise was peacefully conducted. He lies that the 1,502 km2 were never inhabited or used for cultural, ceremonial or spiritual purposes, and that the demarcation was done to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem against persistent encroachment by surrounding communities, that it was necessary because of increase in human population pressure. Kapalata further claims that the land subject to the case from 2017 is not the same as “Pololeti GCA”, without explaining what the difference would be. He outrageously claims that throughout the process the government ensured public consultation and participation resulting in consensus – when all councillors of affected wards were abducted the day before the demarcation started!

Those abducted for over five months are called “village leaders” and “civilians” and are described as perpetuating resistance to the demarcation and instigating violence, and in the response to the affidavits it’s also mentioned that this caused the death of CPL Garlus Mwita. How does this square up with a peaceful exercise, consultation and participation?

The government doesn’t care. Do the judges care? Are they able to understand?

Besides this case in the East African Court of Justice, there’s another one in the same court against the brutally and illegally declared “Pololeti GCA” that after (or at the same time as) the government response was filed, was declared a “Pololeti GR” by the anti-Maasai president. I don’t have any details about this case, but we really need to become more coordinated and organized in this fight against such a brutal, but utterly stupid enemy. Maybe the cases will be consolidated.

Miscellaneous Cause No.09 of 2022 (judicial review) is a case in the Tanzanian High Court against the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Attorney General. When even the judges in the regional court appear compromised, I’d ask what can be gained in a Tanzanian court, but apparently, it’s necessary. There was a hearing on 8th November and on the 15th the court was scheduled to rule if the judicial review can go on.

In this case, five petitioners from the affected villages are asking the Court to give them leave to request: 

1) The court to order the government to remove the restrictions against the villagers entering the 1,500 km2 area which they have been using for grazing their livestock and for carrying out faith activities.

 2) The court should declare that the Government Notice (GN421) dated 17 June 2022 is invalid and should not be used, as it is against the law and did not involve the citizens as required by the law. 

3) The court should declare to prevent the government and its agents from carrying out operations in the area. 

This case too was responded to by Emmanuel Daniel Pius, on 4th November, this time with lies like those by Fidelis Kapalata responding to the Pololeti case in the East African Court of Justice, that the demarcation was carved out of the 4,000 km2 Loliondo GCA that’s claimed to have been a “reserved area” since 1951, and that the villagers have never used the 1,502 km2. Then he says that “Pololeti GCA” doesn’t involve the applicants’ villages, since those are outside the demarcated area. Where is that if the whole area has been a reserved area since 1951 and is larger than the whole of Loliondo division? Are the villages hanging in the air? He repeats the claim of peaceful and participatory demarcation combined with resisting and violent leaders (all ward councillors) that were arrested. In this response he says that “only” livestock that graze inside the GCA are impounded, while in the response to Application No2 of 2022, he says that the herders have not even been approached by TAWA. 

On 16th November, not the scheduled 15th, there was a hearing. The director of the Civic and Legal Aid Organization, the unusual, in the best way, Tanzanian journalist Odero Charles, had written a letter to the High Court Judge, Mohammed Gawe appealing for the case to be broadcast live, which was sadly denied. Otherwise, everything went well and the applicants were granted leave to continue with the judicial review.

 

 
Latang'amwaki Ndwati

 

Reference No.29 of 2022

Over 1,620 Maasai decided to file a case to challenge the coordinated and suffocating policies in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (see below, this is NOT Loliondo) in June 2022 in the East Africa Court of Justice. Both parties have filed their respective documents (I was trying to get hold of the government’ response that reportedly says that it’s acting on advice by UNESCO, which I could confirm the same day as I was to publish this blog post) and the Court is expected to fix a date for hearing of the case, which is yet to be communicated. The Maasai are challenging the withdrawal of government money throughout NCA to induce relocation to Handeni.

 Ruthless hypocrites Thomson Safaris

As reported in August, the American Thomson Safaris, inspired by the general brutality and lawlessness, have planted beacons demarcating their fraudulently and violently claimed "Enashiva Nature Refuge" in the villages of Sukenya and Mondorosi, outside the illegally demarcated 1,500 km2. In early October there were reports that they were invading people’s farms and lokeri with road construction. In Sukenya ole Musa was being invaded by this ugly land grabber, and in Mondorosi, ole Nanyoi (Irmasiling) and ole Orgeso (Enadooshoke) were under attack. 

On 23rd there was another exhibition of charity as a weapon of war when the criminal DC Raymond Mwangwala praised Thomson Safaris and their propaganda branch Focus on Tanzanian Communities, for which former guests fundraise, for funding extensions to Sukenya dispensary with 331 million TShs. Co-owner (together with Rick Thomson) Judi Wineland and representatives of FOTZC were present.

 

 
Thomson Safaris' copycat beacon.

 

For more about Thomson Safaris,read this blog post from 2018.

The not at all less threatened Ngorongoro Conservation Area

It doesn’t seem like there’s anything that can be done to stop too many people – both good and bad - from mixing up Loliondo and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This confusion is sometimes really damaging. We must try to keep allies strong, with correct understanding and arguments! 

The Maasai already lost access to over 14,000 km2 when evicted from Serengeti in 1959 by the colonial government, and as a compromise deal, they were guaranteed the right to continue occupying the 8,292 km² Ngorongoro Conservation Area as a multiple land-use area administered by the government, in which natural resources would be conserved primarily for their interest, but with due regard for wildlife, and in case of conflict the interest of the Maasai would take precedence. This promise was not kept, and tourism revenue has turned into the paramount interest, with restrictions for the Ngorongoro Maasai, which those in Loliondo have not had to endure. The government’s aim is to via these restrictions make them relocate “voluntarily”. Ngorongoro has become Tanzania top source of tourism revenue and many wildlife numbers have increased, with the Maasai living there, in their home.

 

 
Indepes sub-village, Ngorongoro Ward.

 

As mentioned in the previous blog post, in September, NCA rangers attacked and tortured several people, among them Letee Ormunderei who was seriously injured and needed surgery for which there was fundraising. Letee is doing well, and there are still plans to prosecute the ranger Abraham Akyoo who brutalized him. 

A meeting was held on 12th October between the government and Endulen Hospital in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha). A representative of the Diocese, Government representatives and Endulen hospital staff attended. Reportedly, the church representative was invited to attend the meeting in Endulen without having been told the agenda. The St. Luke parish father asked the District Medical Officer to arrange another meeting which will involve the hospital board and the government to discuss the matterThe church ignored their wish the first time. The big issue is that 85% of the current medical professionals are paid by the government after the hospital no longer get aids from donors to run the hospital 

The government’s plan to further suffocate key life serving services downgrading the hospital to a clinic, removing Xray and radiation services, relocating government employees and all employees above the grade of nurse assistant, removing ambulance service, delivery and mother and childcare and emergency facilities, while medical attendants should not exceed two people. Reportedly, the plan is to demolish the whole hospital in January 2023.

 For decades the Maasai have suffered restrictions, more and more purposefully designed to impoverish them and force them out of Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In 1975, after a change in the NCA Act in 1974, they were brutally evicted from residing in Ngorongoro crater and all cultivation was prohibited. The cultivation ban was lifted in 1992, but brought back in 2009, after many “grave concerns” by UNESCO and IUCN. Now not even the smallest kitchen garden is allowed, which together with loss of access to grazing areas has led to malnutrition. They are not allowed to build permanent houses and suffer all kinds of harassment by NCA rangers, that want to restrict motorbikes, building materials, or demanding permits for just anything, including demanding ID for the Maasai to pass Loduare gate, with targeted harassment of perceived activists at the gate. 

In recent years the threats have accelerated, and 2022 has been worse than ever. 

After a visit by PM Majaliwa in December 2016 - the Maasai lost access to the three craters Ngorongoro, Olmoti, and Empakaai, which has led the loss of 90% of grazing and water for Nainokanoka, Ngorongoro, Misigiyo wards, and a 100% loss of natural saltlicks for livestock in these wards.

In September 2019, chief conservator Freddy Manongi made public a Multiple Land Use Model review proposal, which is so destructive that it would lead to the end of Maasai livelihoods and culture in Ngorongoro District. Only 18% of the expanded NCA would remain for people and livestock. This genocidal zoning proposal included the annexation of the now illegally demarcated areas in Loliondo that the horrible Pindi Chana indeed illegally declared annexed on 28th September. The 2019 announcement was followed by so many protest statements – by NCA Maasai - that I lost count, while those in Loliondo almost pretended that nothing was happening. 

 

 

Shortly after having come into office in 2021, Samia Suluhu Hassan started bringing up the need to “save” Ngorongoro from the Maasai, in an explicit way not used by any previous president. A week after her first speech of this kind there was on 12th April 2021 a demolition orders for private houses, primary schools, dispensaries, a police station, churches, and a mosque, which after protests was stopped until further notice. Also in 2021, the NCAA headquarters were hastily relocated to Karatu, promotional spectacles headed by the infamous chief conservator Manongi were held on parliamentary grounds, and a clip was uploaded in which Manongi talks about a war that pastoralists have many conspiracies and that conservationists must start cooking their own conspiracies. NCAA rangers assaulted several herders in August and September 2021. Protests were brewing but were cut short when MP Olenasha passed away on 27th September. 

In 2022, the hate campaign against the Maasai of Ngorongoro spiralled out of all control. I’ve covered it with some detail in blog posts up until the brutal and illegal land demarcation in Loliondo erupted and I was unable to keep up with everything. 

2022 started with a leaked plan for “voluntary” relocations of Ngorongoro Maasai to be finalized very hurriedly before the end of February. In the plan the Kitwai and Handeni GCAs are named as the areas for relocation and misleadingly described as protected areas that will be declassified. Did the NCAA really believe this and were then when on the ground in Msomera, Handeni, surprised to find a registered village with its land use plan and bewildered villagers looking on as houses were speedily being built for Ngorongoro Maasai? Arusha RC John Mongella was the recommended overseer of the project. The plan recommended seeking permission to use COVID-19 money allocated for the development projects to fund the eviction of Ngorongoro Maasai - and then on 31st March DED Mhina sent letters to Ngorongoro headteachers ordering them to transfer COVID-19 funds for Ngorongoro schools to Handeni District council. 

Towards late January 2022, Habib Mchange’s Jamvi la Habari newspaper, that focuses on fabrications and slander of opposition politicians, initiated a hate campaign against the Maasai of NCA that spread all over regular and social media, was joined by crazed sports presenters, Maulid Kitenge and friends. The old anti-Maasai Jamhuri paper with Deusdatus Balile and Manyerere Jackton who in over 60 articles has incited against the Maasai of Loliondo, soon joined in, and the “journalists” started an organization with its sole focus on evicting the Maasai from Ngorongoro - and were treated as serious actors by other media. Though many Tanzanians in social media who had earlier not paid much attention to Ngorongoro saw what was going on, were appalled, and started speaking up. On 13th February, the new anti-Maasai organisation held a press conference sharing crazed and dehumanizing theories about the Ngorongoro Maasai. The Darmpya online news, asked questions, like how come the “allowances” for attending the press conference were so extraordinary heavy, who funded it, and for what purpose.

 

On 9th February, MPs competed in being wilfully ignorant, hateful, and calling for evictions from Ngorongoro, and Loliondo, the Mtwara MP screamed that tanks were needed, there was much laughter and table banging, while only three MPs (all Maasai) spoke up for the Maasai. The arguments, besides the old population panic, ranged from dehumanizing colonial fantasies to crocodile tears about poverty and backwardness, to lies that rich people not from Ngorongoro, but from town or the neighbouring country, would own the livestock in NCA, to blaming Kenya for being behind the anti-eviction resistance with the aim of sabotaging tourism in Tanzania. Majaliwa said that the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Act would be reviewed, but first there was to be a seminar for the MPs and he would meet with people in Ngorongoro and Loliondo. On 12th February a one-sided “seminar” about Ngorongoro was held for the MPs who continued their hateful and defamatory incitement against the Maasai. At this seminar, one non-Maasai MP supported the Ngorongoro Maasai: Professor Kitila Mkumbo, MP for Ubungo.

In NCA many people stopped sleeping and started praying incessantly at combined prayer and protest meetings.

On 17th February Majaliwa held a brief agenda-driven meeting at the NCA hall, for leaders and closed to the public. There was confusion and thorough registering of the attendants. Two journalists were arrested and released later the same day. The local people who were locked out stayed outside the hall singing.

On 5th March, Deputy Minister Mary Masanja brought a caravan of 600 women in diesel guzzling vehicles to Ngorongoro, to celebrate tourism, CCM, or supposedly International Women’s Day. Meanwhile Maasai women climbed Mount Makarot to pray for their land. In early June, a similar tasteless and reckless spectacle was held by the CCM youth wing, UVCCM.

On 10th March in Arusha, Majaliwa held a meeting with Maasai from other areas, without any connection to Ngorongoro, led by the denounced fraudster Lekisongo.

On 13th March, Majaliwa made a much-publicised visit to Msomera Village in Handeni where houses were hurriedly being built to relocate Maasai from Ngorongoro, without consulting them, and without consulting people from Msomera that’s a legally registered village.

 On 25th March Damas Ndumbaro, then still Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, met with ambassadors to tell them the “truth” about Ngorongoro and Loliondo, and his ministry reported that the German ambassador supported the government’s efforts in Ngorongoro, which has still not been publicly denied by any German representative.

 

 
On 3rd April, the NCAA had found some real traitors to show off, unlike the previous imposters from other places than Ngorongoro, even if long-gone people were still looking for a compensation deal. And they are of course not traitors for wanting to relocate, but for lending themselves to the dirty war against their own people. Then several groups of in-authentic, compromised, or naïve Maasai have been relocated to Msomera and much paraded in media.

 

On 6th May, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues called on the government of Tanzania to immediately cease efforts to evict the Maasai people from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Then the president, at Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition’s own 10-year anniversary, expressed her displeasure with human rights defenders defending Ngorongoro Maasai and not her genocidal plans.

On 25th May 2022, a 60-member committee, handed over reports on community recommendations to PM Majaliwa. There was one report on NCA and one on Loliondo and Sale. The report writers weren’t shy to tell the truth and Majaliwa, who hardly have read the reports, said that he would work on the recommendations. Majaliwa is known as a dangerous liar, but dancing to his tune was seen as preferably anyway, when it included the opportunity to report the truth. In Loliondo extreme violence and land alienation followed, while restrictions and “voluntary” relocation to Handeni continue in Ngorongoro. 

Remember

On 28th October it was two years since Salula Ngorisiolo was killed at Oloirobi polling station on election day when NCA rangers and police opened fire at voters who were protesting openly committed election fraud. No Ngorongoro leaders at all have spoken up about this murder. 

On 12th October an open letter about Loliondo signed by more than 76 organizations called on President Samia to stop the unjust, illegitimate and discriminatory actions and to ensure that Tanzania complies with its international human rights obligations pertaining to the Maasai’s individual and collective right, and on 2nd November, the Saami Councils demanded that confiscated land is returned to the Maasai and that detained Maasai leaders are released. But words are not enough. Something tangible must be done to stop the blood-soaked Tanzanian government. How? 

Uproot the brutally and illegally planted beacons, shred the GNs to pieces, and punish every person involved in violence and land theft in Loliondo, Sale and Ngorongoro. 

Susanna Nordlund is a working-class person based in Sweden who since 2010 has been blogging about Loliondo (increasingly also about NCA) and has her fingerprints thoroughly registered with Immigration so that she will not be able to enter Tanzania through any border crossing, ever again. She has never worked for any NGO or intelligence service and hasn’t earned a shilling from her Loliondo work. She can be reached at [email protected] 

 
Updates:
 
25th November
 
After the government coming with fake and forced LUPs, signs for different land use areas are put up in a village - Ololosokwan - where the chairman is still in exile, Oriais Oleng'iyo still disappeared by security forces, and beacons marking massive illegal land alienation still standing.
Both the fake conservator for the fake and illegal protected area and the criminal DC have been talking about a WMA. I'd like to know exactly who has been corrupted. What I'm hearing is terrifying. 
 

Plenty of untold abuse is going on, since there aren’t ANY leaders to speak up about anything at all and no journalists. On 26th November the 60 cows of mzee Sarkay Tiiyee were seized at the water point, outside the illegally demarcated area. He had 100 cows, but 40 had already died due to drought and theft of grazing land. It’s the rangers stationed at the Orng'oswa area that used to be part of Sanjan village in Malambo who are committing the crimes. I haven’t understood if they are FFU or NCA. On 27th November 167 goats belonging to Kimani Taretoy Tiiye were seized. The criminals are demanding 60,000 TShs per goat when the current price for a goat is 30,000 TShs. The rangers had slaughtered 27 goats. They can do absolutely anything since there isn’t anyone to hold them accountable.