Dodoma — THE Minister for Defence and National Service, Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha has refuted claims among some Members of Parliament and public that armed forces invade civilian land causing disputes and conflict.
Mr Nahodha made the refusal when winding up his budget which was later passed. He said that the land that is availed to the armed forces is given to them by the government.
"I totally disagree that armed forces invade civilian land. I can agree that the land may not be surveyed, no title deeds and not compensated and these factors can result in misunderstandings," he said.
He promised to ensure that all land disputes were quickly sorted out including the compensation of land but added that there were some people who were greedy and were encroaching in military camps.
The minister said that there were people who had proposed that since many military barracks possessed large tracts of land, they should give some to civilians.
"Allow me to remind the House that the army has many activities and needs the land for training and there are times when this training entails the use of live bullets. In this case civilians have to live far from camps," he said.
Mr Nahodha advised the public to refrain from grazing their animals near military camps. He said that the long grass, shrubs and trees they see in the vicinity of the camps are actually for camouflage.
Responding to a query by Dr Stephen Kebwe (Serengeti - CCM) on why the army has offices in the middle of Dar es Salaam, the minister said that their job is to guard the city and by shifting away into the forest, they would be guarding the forest and wildlife.
On the query that was floated in the House by one of the MPs about why it had taken so long for Tanzania to have war ships, Mr Nahodha said that buying war ships was not as easy as buying a shirt at a Sunday market.
"I would like to say that the Chief of the Navy last month went to China to look at the ships and by September, this year we hope to have finalized the payment of the ships," he said.
He revealed that it would take at least 60 to 90 days before the ship arrives in Tanzanian waters and that in December, this year, the government expects to a get a grant for one ship which would be helpful.
The minister said that the Chinese Army had pledged to provide another ship saying that the ships were not brand new and that they were expected to arrive in six or seven months.