A land dispute is simmering between the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) and three civilians over ownership of a prime 10 acre multimillion shillings worth off the Magogoni stretch of the Indian Ocean in Kigamboni District.
The civilians are Shabbir Delaware, Suraiya Abdulhusein and Quresh Deleware, who are laying claim to the land in the neighbourhood of the Air Defence Brigade. Led by Quresh Deleware, as administrator of the estate of the late Mukhtar Delaware, the trio is seeking redress from the High Court's Land Division.
The plaintiffs are suing four defendants, including the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, the Minister for Defence and National Service, the Chief of Defence Forces, the Commissioner for Lands and the Attorney General.
They are seeking relief declarations, claiming that they are the lawful owners of the disputed land on plots 3 and 4 at Magogoni Area in Kigamboni District, formerly Temeke District, which bears certificate of title No. 9670, which they claim was transferred to them on November 14, 1979.
The plaintiffs are also seeking declaration orders that the act of the defendants, of allowing defence forces, particularly army officers from 671KJ to enter into and occupy the disputed land amounts to trespass and that such property had never been acquired in any way by the defendants.
They are furthermore asking the court to declare that the presence of officers from 671KJ in the said land is illegal and issue an order directing the defendants, their agents, representatives, officers or any other persons, and or authorities acting on their behalf, to stop trespassing on their property. Efforts to reach the AG, Mr George Masaju, to comment on the matter didn't yield fruit.
The plaintiffs claim in the suit that since they acquired the landed property, they have been paying land rent and or taxes and all relevant land charges to the government and its authorities.
"It is averred that the dispute between the plaintiffs and defendants has existed for a period of more than 38 years and for all that period of time the plaintiffs had not enjoyed their property due to the acts of trespass committed by the defendants," reads a paragraph of the plaint of the suit.
It is alleged that sometime in 1996, the TPDF, through its Naval Base, 671KJ Kigamboni, purporting to have acquired the land on Plot No. 3, entered into the area and fixed a notice, notifying the plaintiffs and the public not to enter into or deal with the land in any way.
Subsequent to the notice, army officials with firearms have been roving around the area to ensure security. The plaintiffs consulted the government officials, including the Temeke Municipal Director and the Temeke District Commissioner and defendants, to resolve the dispute.
According to the plaint, on May 14, 1999, the defendants through the TPDF Air Defence Brigade, issued the plaintiffs with a copy of a letter addressed to 671KJ, showing they had stopped to use or occupy the disputed land. Following the letter purportedly issued by TPDF, the dispute was presumably settled.
However, the plaintiffs claim that surprisingly, in 2000, the dispute arose afresh, as officials from 671KJ Magogoni re-entered the land and fixed public notices for the public not to enter the area, saying as it belonged to the TPDF.
The plaintiffs took similar steps to resolve the dispute. It is alleged that on March 25, 2004, the Temeke Municipal Director issued a letter to the 671KJ informing them of the rightful owner of the land in dispute to be the plaintiffs.
Despite the information, the defendants' officials allegedly refused or neglected to give vacant possession of the land.