26 January 2013

Tanzania: Land Speculators Under Fire in Kiteto

People hoarding land and selling through unauthorized means in Kiteto district, Manyara region have come under fire from the district commissioner Mrs Martha Umbulla who said she would act against them.

She said during her visit to several villages in the district that the practice has contributed to the land conflicts in the area, citing the Embuleiurtangozi in Partimbo ward where crisis over land flared up recently.

The DC directed people who settled on the disputed land which was sold to them illegally to vacate the area before the authorities evicted them by force. The tress passers are also likely to face prosecution, she warned.

Mrs Umbulla urged people to settle in registered villages to avoid the hussle of evictions from the disputed areas. It is in such villages where they can access basic services such as education, health and water supplies, she said.

However, when responding to the DC's order, residents of Embuleiurtangozi village said they were not against evictions but wanted the government to find them an alternative area for permanent settlement .

The order by the DC followed a successful appeal filed by the Kiteto District Council against an earlier lower court verdict which allowed some people to settle in the disputed area. The case has simmered since 2007.

Earlier, the villagers filed and won a case before the Land Court objecting eviction from the disputed land by the local authority. Later the District Council appealed against the ruling and won the case, now prompting relocation of the villagers.

Elsewhere, residents of Kiteto district have expressed their concerns over the deteriorating services at the district hospital, especially in the maternity ward which they said was short of the working tools.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said some expectant mothers have lost their lives because of the poor conditions of the medical facility which, according to them, has only two beds for the expectant mothers. The hospital also lacks E-ray machines.

Commenting on the issue, the District Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Tutuba said efforts were under way to increase the number of beds and that efforts were underway to secure an X-ray machine.

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