12 July 2012

Tanzania: Coast Region Forest Border Dispute Now Put to Rest

THE Kisarawe District Defence and Security Committee under the leadership of the District Commissioner, Fatma Kimario, has reaffirmed its recognition of the original boundaries of Kazimzumbwi National Forest Reserve in Coast region, established in 1954.

Speaking at the end of a guided tour led by the Chief Executive of the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) Agency, Juma Mgoo, DC Kimario said the areas according to the Government Notice (GN) Number 306 and as further acknowledged on a map prepared in 1954 Coded JB. 196 with supporting beacons should be respected as lawful borders.

The leader was in full support of a statement recently issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism warning the public against invasion of Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserve or other human activities.

The controversy on infringement of the established borders took a new twist when Ilala District Land Survey Department contracted a surveyor to map 200 plots within the reserve but the contractor surveyed 303 plots instead.

According to an official letter to Ilala Municipal Land Surveyor with Reference Number 186/III/14/207 dated September 8, 2010, the office of the national Director of Land Survey and Photogrammetric Mapping nullified legality of all the plots.

The letter, signed by Samwel Katambi on behalf of the Director further warned the Ilala District Land Survey Office against negligence when issuing survey instructions, without conducting serious data search. "The director has revoked the unlawful survey of 303 plots at Kimwani - Chanika which are located inside the boundaries of Kazimzumbwi Reserve Forest.

"With this letter you are ordered to remove all beacons and report to the director about implementation of the order," reads part of the letter. The Forest Reserve Manager, Matthew Mwanuo, said although the leadership of neighbouring Nzasa village proved to be cooperative under community participatory initiative, there are few individuals still holding grudges against him for the intensified security with the support of game rangers.

Showing the original map to the DC and other members of the district defence and security committee, Elias Ntibansubire from TFS head office said persuasion by some of the officials from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development on change of reserve borders was unacceptable.

"There has been a persistent push to have the borders extended by 800 metres westward in compensation of the same size of the area wrongly mapped in the eastern part of the reserve. It is deplorable as the attempt would leave out some of the natural features," said Elias.

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