LIVESTOCK and Fisheries Minister, Luhaga Mpina has launched a nationwide strategy aimed at providing lasting solution to recurring land disputes pitting livestock keepers and other land users in many parts of the country.
Through the strategy, Minister Mpina formed a seven-member task-force comprising experts from the government, which has been tasked to make countrywide visits to assess causes of the conflicts and provide feasible solutions for addressing the menace.
Members of the task-force are drawn from the President's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development and the Attorney General Chambers.
Available statistics indicate that there are 1,095 unresolved land conflicts as of October, this year, which have caused untold sufferings to people including deaths, disabilities, killing of livestock in addition to destruction of crops, loss of property and disturbance of peace in general.
Speaking at the launch of the strategy at Mpeta Village in Uvinza District of Kigoma Region, the Minister was categorical that the Fifth Phase government cannot tolerate such disputes, most of which are fuelled by unprincipled leaders in respective areas, to continue causing deaths and disturbing peace.
According to Mr Mpina, major causes for land conflicts in Tanzania include poor enforcement of laws, unplanned land use, intrusion of large herds of livestock from neighbouring countries as well as changes of land use in areas earmarked for livestock keepers and failure to develop pastures for grazing.
The Minister mentioned other factors fuelling disputes as nomadic pastoralism, double allocation of land by some dishonest leaders and changes in land use.
The disputes are mainly between livestock keepers and farmers, reserved areas, ranches owned by the National Ranching Corporation (NARCO), holding grounds for cattle and livestock multiplication units.
Also on the list are land conflicts between communities surrounding village auctioning areas and border disputes between villages and district, mainly in rural areas.
"Tanzania had 11.9 million people in 1967, but the population has now grown to 50 million people while statistics on the other hand show that there were 22 million livestock in 1984 but the number has now grown to about 57 million.
"The increased number of people and livestock as well as growing demand for land for agriculture and households exert more pressure on land which is limited," Mr Mpina pointed.
He expressed concerns that various recommendations on how to address the conflicts have been presented by previous teams formed by the government and the National Assembly but skirmishes continue to haunt communities on land issues.
Terms of reference for the task-force include visiting areas with land conflicts to identify causes of the problem and provide solutions to address the disputes by engaging other stakeholders.
The team will also review recommendations by past committees and assess their implementation.
Speaking at the occasion, the Secretary of Livestock Keepers in Tanzania, Mr Maghembe Makoye, was highly convinced that the task-force will bring lasting solutions to conflicts among land users.