4 February 2013

Tanzania: Tanesco, Tanroads Lock Horns Over Land

Photo: Chris Kirchhoff
Electricity pylons.

TWO government agencies, the Tanzania Electric Company (Tanesco) Limited and Tanzania National Roads Agency (Tanroads) have failed to resolve their dispute over ownership of two plots in Mtwara Region, forcing the matter to be taken before a Tribunal for settlement.

The subject of the dispute is Plots Number 1 and 2 Block B located at Wapi Wapi area in Masasi District where Tanesco has its district offices. But, Tanroads alleges that the disputed plots are within the road reserve demanding demolition of all structures therein, including the offices in question.

Already, Tanesco has secured an interim order from the District Land and Housing Tribunal for Mtwara, restraining Tan-Roads from demolishing the buildings on the premises, pending final determination of an application, seeking to challenge the decision by Tanroads.

Court documents show that the Tribunal issued the restraint order on January 14, this year. The parties to the dispute are meeting before the Tribunal on March 5, when the matter will be mentioned. Tanesco lodged its application on the same day after Tanroads had served them a 14 days demolition notice.

In his affidavit to support the application, Mtwara Regional Manager for Tanesco Martin Gellege stated that on November 10, last year, he received the 14 days notice dated November 9, 2012, from Tanroads' Acting Regional Manager, for demolition of Masasi District Offices located on the plots.

Prior to the issuance of the notice, he explained, Tanroads marked 'X' mark showing that 10 metres of Tanesco's premises should be taken off and 6.5 metres of the building be pulled down. He stated that the reason behind the demolition was that the office was within road reserve.

But, according to Mr Gellege's affidavit, "the office in question is located in two plots that have been under legal occupancy of the applicant (Tanesco) since the year 1979, and that the title deeds for two plots were issued to the applicant since (then) for 99 years."

He stated that the intention by the respondent (Tanroads) to demolish the offices was illegal and unjustifiable for the reason that it is contrary to several laws of the land, including the Highways Act, Land Act, among others.

If Tanroads would not be restricted from demolishing the offices, Mr Gellege alleged, Tanesco's building would be lost and in consequence thereto, the people of Masasi District would lose electricity services. Therefore, he claimed, for the interest of the public, intervention of the Tribunal was necessary to save the situation at hand.

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