Arusha — MEMBERS of nomadic pastoral communities, traditional hunters and gatherers have launched a special platform to advocate their rights and interests in the ongoing new constitution drive.
The representatives of pastoralist communities, traditional hunters as well as fruits and roots gatherers from all over the country, converged in Arusha,under the auspices of the Pastoralist Indigenous Non-Government Organizations (PINGOS) Forum, where they called for the constitutional recognition of their respective survival endeavours.
To ensure that the proposed new constitution covers their interests well, the members of the 'marginalized' communities have formed a special "Katiba Initiative," to be simply known as "KAI" through which they intend to help the National Constitution Review team reach out to traditional hunters, gathers and nomadic pastoralists.
The coordinator of the Katiba Initiative, Advocate William Ole Nasha explained that the country's marginalized communities such as nomadic pastoralists, indigenous hunters and traditional gatherers live in the remotest parts of the country where the national "Katiba Commission" may never get to reach.
"We intend to work hand-inhand with the Katiba team, assisting them to educate and mobilize the local communities to attend the constitutional review meetings where they can contribute towards the formation of the new governing laws," stated Ole Nasha. The chairman of the new "Constitution Platform" (Jukwaa la Katiba) Mr Deus Kibamba said it was also upon the "Katiba Initiative" to ensure that the process to formulate the new constitution does not undermine the current one.
"The current constitution has served the country very well in the last 50 years and it is still a valid document which must be respected even as we work to come up with a new constitution," said Mr Kibamba. The representatives of marginalized communities called for the new constitution's recognition of the nomadic cattle grazing sector as an important segment of the country's economy and that the land occupied by nomadic pastoralists should be respected by all.
"It has been the norm that the land belonging to pastoralists usually get leased out to foreign investors after the occupants have left it idle in their quest for greener pastures or water," pointed out Mr Gabriel Ole Tuke from the SWEAT Development Programme in Kiteto District of Manyara.
Adding to that, Alhaj Mohammed Leboi who is the chairman of Pastoralists Council in the Coast Region stated that, the cattle grazers normally leave parts of their land idle in order to allow new grass to grow but other people wrongly regard this as neglected land and move in to occupy thus causing conflicts.