23 February 2013

Tanzania: Council Won't Apply for Change of Land Use - Official

Magu — THE Magu District Council will not be applying to the government to change Sayaka Game Reserve into a residential area, in Busega and Magu districts in Mwanza and Simiyu Regions, claiming that the Ministry turned down such an application in 2001.

The Magu District Council Executive Director, Ms Naomi Nnko, told the 'Daily News' in Magu recently that her predecessor did the same in 2001 but the Ministry of Natural Resource and Tourism rejected the proposal. "Already, the Ministry of Natural Resource and Tourism has taken a stance on the issue of changing Sakaya Game Reserve to residential area, for people of Magu and Busega in Simiyu and Mwanza regions," said Ms Nnko.

She was responding to Magu District ward councillors who wanted her to write a letter to the ministry seeking change of use of the reserve to avoid conflicts between the government and residents. She said that the ministry, in a letter dated December 19, 2001, rejected such application and she has failed to file another application since the first was not successful.

There has been grumbling among Magu residents arguing that the area which the government has declared a game reserve is theirs hence seek change of land usage. The Magu District Council Natural Resources and Tourism Department claims that the area is reserved for game reserve and anyone who will carry agricultural activities will face the wrath of the law.

The Magu District Council Acting Forest Officer, Chami Walwa, noted that Sakaya Forest is government forest since 1996, that's why the forestry officials destroyed crops that had been planted along Simiyu banks, and those who admitted to have intruded the game reserve paid 500,000/- fines each.

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