MONEY EXCHANGING HANDS

Politicians to blame for Ngorongoro impasse - Somoire

Tanzania tourism, Somire says, is the 3rd contributor to employment in the country.

In Summary

•Somoire says the Ngorongoro conservation area is under the threat of depletion from the rising uncontrolled number of livestock grazing in the area.

•PM Majaliwa, while in parliament last week on Thursday, argued and assured the Ngorongoro Maasai that their land will still be theirs, but beaconing and surveys are ongoing for the heritage site, and no insecurity should arise as such.

Kenyan author and sociologist Losioki Somoire says only 3 per cent of the 800,000 livestock grazing in the Ngorongoro conservation area belong to the local Maasai.

Somoire says the Ngorongoro conservation area is under the threat of depletion from the rising uncontrolled number of livestock grazing in the area.

The Tanzanian government, early this week, raised concern over the rising number of livestock from an unnamed neighbouring country that is owned by powerful politicians.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, in a statement, said those owning livestock are individuals from outside the Ngorongoro area and from a neighbouring country.

He fell short of blaming the ongoing impasse between the government and the local Maasai in the Ngorongoro area on the owners of the livestock taking advantage of the illiterate local people. 

“I support the move made by the Tanzanian government to demarcate the 1979 1500 sq km Unesco world heritage site to safeguard nature, and its cultural environment,” said Somoire.

The historian, who is based in Nairobi, said the Unesco world heritage site falls under the wildlife corridor area with the archaeological findings that were discovered in 2010. 

Somoire says the rising population which is now estimated at 800,000 people and the increasing number of livestock are a threat to the Serengeti ecosystem.

 Current concerns 

Somoire says trophy hunting and tourism by a UAE investor since 1992 and the high livestock impasse is raising concern in government and the local communities in Ngorongoro.

“Trophy hunting at the expense of the locals/African and the indigenous people as dispensable,” he says.

Somoire says the failure of the Tanzanian authorities to hold meetings with the misinformed locals to clarify issues of conservation has led to resistance.

“Politicians owning livestock and benefitting from the conservation area are taking advantage of the lack of information to incite locals,” says Somoire. 

National concerns 

The historian says in 2019, Tanzanian tourism was the largest GDP contributor as it remained a second foreign exchange earner.

Tanzania tourism, Somire says, is the 3rd contributor to employment in the country.

And the being a chief contributor to GDP and revenue for social services, the government should be allowed a free hand to manage its resources.

The Kenyan historian says Maasai people should be relocated from Ngorongoro in a seemingly agreed good plan with compensation/homes and lands.

Facts 

“Key politicians from Tanzania are beneficiaries of the Ngorongoro conservation area for huge herds of livestock behind the skirmishes,” claims Somoire.

He claims that the Tanzanian politicians sought the support of livestock owners from Kenya, who pay them for grazing purposes, to raise concerns internationally.

“Politicians in Tanzania and Kenya, who are beneficiaries of the grazing land in Ngorongoro, are inciting locals to boycott the earlier agreed plan destabilising the process,” claims Somoire. 

PM Majaliwa, while in parliament last week on Thursday, argued and assured the Ngorongoro Maasai that their land will still be theirs, but beaconing and surveys are ongoing for the heritage site, and no insecurity should arise as such.

Impact 

Somoire argues that the vulnerable Maasai people (women and children) will be highly affected while politicians win big in propaganda.

“Those running to Kenya may be bypassed by the compensation process and lose their portions,” he argues.

Somoire adds that families who have crossed into Kenya with their children will miss school as a result of the incitement and hence another decade of retrogression and efforts already made watered down.

Way forward 

The Maasai people should sit with the authorities and come up with a sustainable plan.

Agreed MoU with the people and authorities to be documented (win-win agreement). 

Leaders to help the community understand that climate change is seriously catching up on them, the human population is hugely and speedily growing, and land space becoming lesser and lesser daily.

The Maasai people are not the first to be relocated, in Shinyanga, many got relocated in the past to allow mining to go on.

In Mererani in Simanjiro same case happen for a mining site to be developed and mapped.

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