9 February 2018

Tanzania: Government Keen On Resolving Land Disputes, PM Says

Dodoma — THE government is set to end land disputes pitting villages that encroached reserved forests and authorities after a countrywide exercise to demarcate and place beacons at boundaries of national forests completed in December, last year.

According to the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, the conflicts existed before the exercise, but they continued in some areas even after the accomplishment of evaluation and marking of the forest lands.

The problem was fuelled after some villages were found to be within the reserved forests, he said.

The premier stated that since the exercise was completed in December 30, last year, it was now the duty of the ministry to go back to adispute-hit areas and collaborate with district councils to find solutions. 0 "We will do evaluations on determining villages that were found in reserved forests ... and thereafter, we will determine the needs of the government and the village on using particular pieces of land.

After these procedures, all land disputes would end, so there is no reason for continuing with arguments," he remarked. Mr Majaliwa explained that principally, there were three types of reserved forest ownerships: Government, councils and village authorities. The government had given directives on all those types of forests in response to the disputes.

"All government forests are preserved according to the law and the maps are available showing the boundaries," he said, adding that theministry was just directed to put beckons in all areas surrounding the forests.

Mr Majaliwa noted that the government initially knew that the disputes would occur when implementing this exercise because some villages would find themselves within the forests. "When the villagers see that beacons have surrounded their villages, should remain calm so that the initial work is completed and we will get back where there would be disputes and resolve them," he pledged.

But he quickly stated that the ministry had been cautioned that before putting the beacons, it should consult the councils and village authorities over the exercise in their areas in order to avoid conflicts.

He made the statement when reacting to a question by Margareth Sitta (Uramba - CCM), who said the conflicts over boundaries have continued in some areas between the villages and reserved forests in various areas.

She wanted to know what plans the government had to end the wrangles since many citizens needed land for economic activities such as agriculture and livestock keeping

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