3 November 2013

Tanzania: MPs Call for Strategic Land Use Plan

Dodoma — POLITICAL interference has led to the messy situation arising from poor land use planning in parts of the country where conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers are prevalent.

The politicians' tendency to ignore the existing laws and interfere in the planning of land use and not giving experts the freedom to play their roles has also been escalating consequences of poor planning for land across the country.

Debating the proposals for national development plan for 2014/15, Morogoro South Member of Parliament, who is also the region's CCM chairman, Innocent Kalogeris, cautioned that lack of land use management plans was perpetuating conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers in his area.

He used examples of conflicts in his constituency to caution that his party may perform poorly in the region in 2015 elections on grounds that crop farmers feel their predicament has been ignored. He said there had been complaints from crop farmers over attacks from livestock keepers who graze their animals on their areas.

According to him, the situation has caused anger among farmers, thus creating mistrust on part of their leaders. He said that as head of the party in his region, he was directly in touch with ordinary peasants who have always been in conflict with pastoralists who graze in their farms.

He said that since the cry of livestock keepers had been given a listening ear, it was important for crop farmers to be listened to as well.

Contributing to the debate, Same East MP Ms. Anne Kilango- Malecela said the government should maximize the existing internal sources of revenue to ensure funds are in place to run land use programmes and control such conflicts.

"The government has received many reports on land disputes, but no tangible actions have been taken to resolve them.

Farmers and pastoralists scramble for land... the government has not come up with a long term conclusive remedy," said Magdalena Sakaya (Special Seats, CUF) She said in many land cases the government has most often sided with investors, creating the impression that state authorities are neglecting the nationals.

"How come every year, the government forms probe teams on land disputes that never unveil their reports to?" she queried.

She urged the government to effectively monitor operations of Property and Business Formalisation Programme (Mkurabita) and control leaders from turning land disputes into their own projects. She said many leaders in the conflicting areas are involved in soliciting bribes from the conflicting parties.

"The government should put in place effective strategies to help pastoralist and farmers out of protracted land disputes," the legislator said. Sakaya accused leaders of using environmental destruction as a pretext to deny pastoralists the rights to own land.

Busega Legislator Dr Titus Kamani (CCM )said the government needed to realise that no country or individual could develop economically without setting up mechanisms for proper utilisation of land.

Reacting to the proposal recently, Chairman of the Parliamentary Budget Committee, Mr Andrew Chenge (Bariadi West - CCM) praised the government for the insightful plans, but said the government's development plan focused on priorities whose financial demand did not correlate with the rate at which the economy was growing.

He also said that the rate at which the population is growing at over 2.9 per cent per year did not go hand in hand with the pace at which the economy was growing.

They urged the government to immediately review the Public Procurement Act, which ,it is understood was creating loopholes for corruption and failure to get value for money in public procurements.

The committee also critiqued the national budget's system of depending a cash budget that was making development projects uncertain and revert to the capital budget system to the pre 1995 years.

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