3 December 2012

Tanzania: Chasimba Residents to Be Relocated

THE government has finally resolved to conduct a survey and evaluation of land and property on block 1, 4 and 7 in Chasimba Village in Kinondoni District so that it relocates and compensates the 903 residents who were ordered to vacate the area by the Court of Appeal.

This is because most of the beacons on the three blocks have been removed. One can hardly tell the area of the disputed land, according to the Minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Prof Anne Tibaijuka.

Likewise, the ministry of Energy and Minerals has been asked to identify areas with limestone deposits surrounding the Tanzania Portland Cement Company Limited (TPCC), so that residents locality are compensated and relocated.

Prof Tibaijuka said this in Dar es Salaam yesterday shortly after holding a meeting with Chasimba residents and their leaders. "We must have a soft-landing in this matter. The Court of Appeal had ordered that the residents should vacate the area.

It also ordered the government to find an alternative land for the people. The verdict still stands and needs to be implemented," she said. She added: "Once the survey and valuation are completed then we can agree with the residents on how they will be relocated."

Ministry officials who were present during the meeting told the minister that the exercise should take between one and two weeks to be completed. Chasimba residents and the cement manufacturing firm, commonly known as Twiga Cement, had been embroiled in a protracted legal battle over ownership of the said land since the year 2003.

The Land Division of the High Court ruled in 207 that the residents should vacate the land in favour of the investor, a judgment that was challenged at the Court of Appeal by the residents led by one Haruna Mpangaos. Still, through the appeal filed at the Court of Appeal in 2008 and eventually a verdict on August 25, 2010, the residents lost the case.

The court, however, ordered the government to provide the residents with alternative land. Efforts were made by the Dar es Salaam Regional Office in collaboration with the Kinondoni Municipality to find at alternative land in Kibaha, Coast region, but the 'wananchi' rejected it because they said it was too far from Dar es Salaam.

Again, as the government was considering giving them land at Mabwepande on the outskirts of the city, the same plots had to be given out in a matter of emergency to Dar es Salaam residents who were affected by floods in December, last year, according to the minister.

Also present at the meeting yesterday were Wazo Hill and Bunju local councils namely Mr John Moro and Majisafi Sharif, respectively. Mr Moro asked the Minister to plead with President Jakaya Kikwete so that the Head of State could quash the land title of Twiga Cement in favour of the residents, a request which was turned down by Prof Tibaijuka on grounds that the verdict by the court should stand.

While urging officials responsible for the surveying and valuating the land to exercise honest, Mr Moro complained against land speculators in the municipality with big chunks of undeveloped land.

According to Prof Tibaijuka, if the Ministry of Energy and Minerals concludes that the areas surrounding the cement firm have adequate reserves of limestone, then the areas will be demarcated as "limestone mining areas." At this juncture, the residents will be required to leave the land after which they will be compensated in accordance to the Mining Act Number 7 of 2010.

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