Babati — MAGARA villagers have asked the government to intervene in the 17-year old land quarrels between the village and Maynard Estates.
The villagers claim to have been arrested in controversial scenarios and arraigned over allegations of damaging the land that measures 600 acres. One of the villagers, Mr Boniface Haule charged that the land ownership was nullified by President Benjamin Mkapa in 1999 and handed over to the village, but they have since not been in peace.
He said the Northern Zone Land Commissioner completed the process and handed over the documents to Babati District Council, which directed the village to pay 5m/- for the ownership transfer. Mr Haule alleged further that as the village was looking for the money, an investor emerged, asking for the land subject to building a dispensary, school and other development projects, but nothing has been done, so far.
"The title deed has never been in our hands, it ended up with the district council...we told the investor that if they fail the conditions, we will take back our land. But, lack of ownership document has created a serious conflict between us," said Mr Haule. Magara Village Chairman Twaha Ramadhani conceded that the conflict has been raging on since then, adding that the investor encroached another piece of land that the villagers used for production activities.
Babati District Commissioner (DC) Raymond Mushi said his office was aware of the conflict and has been dealing with it. He said the land legal occupier has never shown up or paid the land tax for the last 17 years.
"We want the legal owner to come up and take care of the plantation by first paying the tax in the district council and developing the area instead of leaving it idle," said DC Mushi.