29 January 2013

Tanzania: Conflicts Stifle Village Mapping in Ngorongoro

LAND conflicts in Loliondo, Ngorongoro District in Arusha Region that have been going on for years, made it difficult for villages in Loliondo and Sale Divisions to be mapped out as required by the Village Land Act of 1999.

Only two villages; Ololosokwan and Engaresero have been mapped out and given land certificates, Loliondo Natural Resource Officer, Mr Masegeri Tumbuya, has said. Mr Tumbuya was reading a report on behalf of the Ngorongoro District Executive Director, Dr Karaine Kunei, to the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, who had visited the area with the intention of ensuring a lasting solution to the perennial land conflicts.

The Act provides for management and control of village land; the main purpose is to recognize and secure customary rights to territory, the main target being rural communities. The transfer of ownership and control of village land is strictly regulated under this law to protect the interest of local communities from unscrupulous dealers.

Mr Tumbuya explained that the land conflicts are between villages and the Serengeti National Park and between villages and investors. "The land conflicts have contributed to delays in mapping out villages and putting in place plans on land use," he explained.

He noted that land conflicts between communities and investors that have lasted for years include conflicts between Ortello Business Company Ltd (OBC) and 8 villages bordering the Serengeti National Park and Sukenya Farm owned by Thomson Safaris and several villages bordering the farm.

Mr Tumbuya said that in 2010, the district council together with the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlement and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, prepared plans that would outline the best way to use the land, which would have helped solve a bigger part of the land conflicts in the areas.

However, after all the plans were in place, villagers refused its implementation because they were not involved in the planning process. Despite the land conflicts, the nation has continued to gain revenue from investors in the area, the district report noted.

The Ngorongoro District Council received 171.4m/-, while 7 villages got 210m/- each getting 30m/- from OBC Company in the financial year 2011/12. He said more than 20 companies have entered into contracts with villagers to conduct tourism business in Sale and Loliondo divisions.

All companies conducting tourism activities contribute towards development in villages in the area. He explained that Ngorongoro District Council receives 70 per cent of its income from revenue, however, the amount has declined since the central government took over revenue collection.

Previously, the revenues were collected by local authorities who have an idea of all tourist activities around the area, but since the department of wildlife took over, the district council now receives only 20 per cent of the revenue collected. Tourist businesses in Ngorongoro District include 14 hotels and tented lodges, 24 campsites and 8 cultural bomas. "There are a lot of opportunities for investments in the tourism sector," Mr Tumbuya noted.

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