Sunday, March 30, 2008



ADDO Arusha Diocesan Development Organisation
DC District Commissioner
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature
KIPOK Korongoro integrated Peoples Oriented to Conservation
LARRRI Land Rights Research and Resources Institute
NCA Ngorongoro Conservation Area
NGO’s Non-Governmental Organisation
OBC Ortello Business Corporation
PINGO’s Pastoralists Indigenous NGO’s
SRCS Serengeti Regional Conservation Strategy

Tanzania is increasingly facing ethnic conflicts mainly involving herders[1] on one hand and farmers on the other hand. Such conflicts sometimes involve herders themselves (Intra-group). Morogoro, Mbeya, Arusha and Mara regions are notorious for such conflicts because the Ancholi, Wanchari, Sonjo and Maasai live and lead conflicting livelihoods. This research focuses on Ngorongoro district in Arusha Region where the sedentary Sonjo/batemi and Maasai have historically been in confrontations.

Ngorongoro district is famous both in Tanzania worldwide due to variety of wildlife species. It is also in this district where the Ngorongoro crater is found , which has been categorized as the world heritage sites. The District divides into three divisions, which are Loliondo, Ngorongoro, and Sale.

The District has a population of 129,000 people according to the 2002 census. 59% of the
District's landmass falls within the famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which was
established in 1959 to deal with matters related to the conservation of wildlife
Resources, promotion of tourism and the development of indigenous Maasai pastoralists
living in the area.

Loliondo division, which is divided into a number of wards and villages, is inhabited
mostly by Maasai who are traditionally pastoralist but who now practice farming as
well. The Batemi (commonly known as Sonjo) and other groups also live in the area

and they are mostly farmers even though they also keep domestic animals. The
division is made up of the villages of Loliondo , Sakala, Ngwarrwa/Enguserosambu,
Oloirien/Magaiduru, Soitsambu, Ololosokwan, Oloipir, Arrash and Maaloni.

As for Sale division, most of its residents are agro-pastoralist. The division is made up
of the villages of Tinaga, Mgongo, Kisangiro, Samunge, Yasimdito , Digodigo, Malambo,Piyaya, Pinyinyi and Engaresero. The three divisions are characterized by differences in natural resources endowments, modes of production, the history and cultures of their inhabitants. There are very complex and hostile socio-economic and political relations between Maasai and the Batemi of the Sale and Loliondo Divisions.

The ethnic relationship between Maasai and Sonjo has historically based on competitions. The utilizations of natural resources have been complimentary, the social activities and beneficial economic co-operation between them are as follows : the vital barter exchange of food as women conduct frequent trade between the communities, .Maasai women frequently participate in Sonjo rituals and request from Sonjo priests .

The problem grew bigger at the time of making boundaries and formalization of village land in the Loliondo division. However, at the same time we have to bear in mind that this problem was on track one century ago[2]. It is therefore misleading to brand findings of various scholars in 1990’s [3]as being the root causes of the problem; rather they are simply factors that facilitate the development of the problem.

Therefore, an assessment of the magnitude of the problem reveals more political and legal struggles with ecological reference. The conflicts as stated earlier are either Intra-group (Maasai vs. Maasai) or Entra-group (Maasai vs. Sonjo ).For instance 2 years ago
there was a conflict between Maasai clans Loita and Purko in Soit Sambu Ward mainly due the fact that great part of their land have been grabbed by government and granted to outsiders like United Arabs kings from Dubai; Brigadier Mohammad Ally and other companies like cattle products Ltd from Kenya , Tanzania Breweries company limited and Thomson’s Safaris.
Various community meetings were conducted to settle the dispute but no sustainable solution was found ,then before a brief of time an order from Ngorongoro District Authority to nullify the certificates of occupancy offered to Loliondo villages in 1990’s.And declared that those villages to be resurveyed .Then again worsened the dispute between Sonjo and Maasai.

The rival of ethnic groups, tried to end their cattle and land disputes when 25 leaders from each faction signed a peace accord brokered by the Arusha Regional Commissioner, Mohamed Babu ,in Collaboration with Ngorongoro District
Commissioner, Mr. Assey Msangi ,the District Executive Director (DED) Mr
Nicholaus Kileka ,tradional leaders experts from the Irish Embassy . However, with all those efforts still the problem continued and expanded to great magnitude.

My Research aims to find out the role of laws and national policies in the said conflicts. It also aims at studying why the problem has acquired a persistent nature and why the government has left the problem unattended for all those years. My research will as well try to find out where these groups get their small firearms used during the conflicts. The research will also address the case of illegal immigrants, as it has been associated with the conflict.[4]
The legal implications of the findings will help the policy and law enforcement organs to have the knowledge and insight of the problem. Such findings will also create awareness to people as to what is taking place in Loliondo and Sale divisions. In the end, the community will understand sources of conflicts so that possible conflict resolution strategies in areas of heterogeneous communities with plural and land tenure systems will be suggested.

The findings and recommendations can as well be used by policy and law makers when making and formulating national policies and laws .The research findings will be a source of reference to be found at the University library for academicians, scholars and other researchers.

The Maasai and Sonjo have been controlled with both changes spatialities and properties in a changing geopolitical and economic on varying geographical and historical scales. The problem has many causes. These are like poor management and
Administration of land ethnic hatreds; scarcity of land and population growth;
Diversification of livelihoods;; and the role of politicians and the government bureaucracy., these are some of the causes according to various researchers’ findings. Therefore, the problem has never been looked in legal perspectives.

The problem seem to be attributed to many couses,it has immediate(new players) and historic causes. The problem has recently acquired great magnitude and endemic character. The great part of loliondo land is given to foreign investors hence limiting the indigenous people’s pastures.

The main problem in Tanzania is ethnic dispute between herders and farmers, and the situation takes another shape as most of the time even pastoralist themselves have been in hostility. The disputes have been associated with land matters by many writers.
Sanna Ojalammi of Helsinki University[5] in his work on semi arid parts of Northern Tanzania has shown that the dispute in Maasai and Sonjo land has relation to land dispute. Being a geographer, he tried to address the problem basing on properties in the changing geopolitical and economic system on varying geographical and historical scales.

The main problem that my research aims to find out is the recurrent nature [ENDEMISM] and over growing of these disputes in Ngorongoro. The conflict breaks almost every year and its magnitude became bigger when the Somali and Loita (Maasai from Kenya) immigrants took part[6] . Loita Maasai[7] have immigrated into the Tanzanian side in big numbers thereby increasing pressure on already contested and limited resources. This finding is also supported by the Ngorongoro DC by then [8] .To add salt on the wound, types of arms used are not expected to be used in a local conflict of this nature. Some of the said fire arms include SMG, AK 47, RPG, LMG, and Rifle. It therefore follows that these conflicts result into death of many people, destruction of their homes and properties like burning of crops and many people women and children ran away from their homes.

We have witnessed the changing of legal system in these areas resulting into misunderstanding among our communities. . NCAA pose threats to expand the conservation area to loliondo lowlands and eviction of Masaai clans from Ngorongoro conservation area to Oldonyosambu village which is among the disputed area. The villagers did not reach into consensus with the land demarcation process done by ADDO in 1990’s.[9].The evolvement of majority to the demarcation process was not promising hence the problem was once again fueled.
The district is rich of natural resources but surprisingly the people on the land still live in extreme poverties. This is what Ragna Tarvick and others baptized it as Resource curse[10].They found that resource curse represents enormous impediments to development, yet it is important to understand that natural resources is not a problem ,rather it is lack of good governance and democracy .Therefore remedying this institutional failure Ragna (supra) says we need change of law and practice but doesn’t require huge resource investment.

Despite several attempt to end the animosity still the problem breaks out often. Therefore the endemic nature of this problem with no doubt matured into legal problem to be researched .Only recently it was reported by Kuilikoni News paper of 22/04/2008 that one person named Lesingo Nanyoi (34) was brutally shot by police in resource based conflict with a foreigner investing on their land at Soit sambu ward.[11].Therefore the problem manifested that there are legal issues to be doubted with as the combination of causes fueling the problem. The situation then manifests that there are laws or policies tend to collide each other, hence leave people into conflicts. For instance the loliondo division villages are recognized by land Laws and local government laws but natural resources laws and policies recognize them as Game controlled area(LGCA).

The then Ngorongoro District Commissioner Aseri Msangi[12] and the former Ngorongoro MP, Mathew Taki ole Timan admitted that the conflict has eventually matured into a tribal war considering the weapons being used. One of the victims of war also admits the same.[13] It therefore appears that the problem receives many new players every year and make it grow bigger and bigger.
The following questions will guide me during my research,
· How do the laws and national policies respectively contribute to these endemic conflicts in Tanzania?
· How do the issues of borders make the problem persistent?

Parties to the conflict, who for years have been trying to end the ethnic clashes, believe that they could have been contained if government was serious and firm in addressing the problem. The Maasai pastoralists who constitute the majority and the Sonjo agro-pastoralists who constitute the minority, among other groups, inhabit the district. The two groups have a prolonged history of hostile relations and tensions The history behind the existing conflict goes back to 1975 when the most intense fight between was first recorded. Many lives were claimed in a fight that was triggered by cattle thefts. The conflicting situation was temporarily arrested in the late 70’s when the late premier Edward Sokoine mediated the same by using traditional means of conflict resolution. [14]

The conflict between the two sides gathered new momentum after 1990, when a highly disputed demarcation and issuance of title deeds to some villages, was done by Arusha Development Diocesan Organisation (ADDO)), Korongoro Integrated Peoples Oriented to Conservation (KIPOC), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Serengeti Regional Conservation Strategy (SRCS).[15] It however blew in 1995 in an occasion where a Maasai young man stole a shoe of a Sonjo trader in a local market, an incidence that quite surprisingly exploded in bloodshed of a magnitude not seen to date.

While the problem was not properly addressed the a village land at Olososokwan with a long term licensed permit was granted to private non Tanzania in 1993 from United Arabs Emirates (UAE). [16] Then, citizens living in Loliondo Game Controlled Area ( LGCA) created an open conflict due to the indigenous land dispossessions. Several debates were made questioning the property right of the Indigenous. This was followed by complains that the government has not given the conflict its due weight to end it.

The co – existence of the two groups of people has always reflected certain ambiguity ranging from hostility to administration surrounding forest of Loita hills. Ole Nangoro in his book[17] said that the land dispute prevalent in Loliondo and Sale division occurred in the borderland area or in wildlife conservation area, such as Loliondo game controlled area, the most heavy violent disputes took place from 1980`s, involving heavy raiding, theft, by armed bandits destruction of homes, property and death of many.[18]

The field seems to be new to many writers but in the course of my readings I have managed to visit various publications that correlate to this matter and I managed to find few authors as follows.
Ragna Torvick and others (supra)they mainly advocate that resource curse is currently a source of conflicts.Such wealths oftern fuels internal grievances that cause conflicts and civil war,therefore this partern is widely refered as “Naturual Resource Curse”.That it creates stagnation and conflicts ,rather than economic growth and development.
Sanna Ojalammi (supra) deals with specific land disputes which took place in 1990 in the Loliondo and Sale division of Ngorongoro. The author being the geographer shows that territoriality, boundary, property and relations of power in geographical space being the main reasons for the problems. He further opines that the reason behind the problem is the lack of communal land rights since the existing one is based on the English property law systems.. However, as stated earlier on, these cannot be the root causes of the problem since the problem started many years before those transformations.
On his part, Shivji[19] propounds that from 1998`s lands disputes have become common in Tanzania due to poor management of land matters.
Territoriality is an important part of social relations and implies the existence of an equal social relations on deferent geography scales propounded by Holloway and Hubbard [20]. Therefore this defines human territoriality within this study as an attempt to effect influence or control actions ,interactions (of people, things and relationship ) by asserting and attempting to enforce control over specific geographical areas. Therefore what I noted is how this principle is applied or enforced sometime government used it as the weapon to grab the land of the poor .
Blomley[21] is of the opinion that law has a geographical aspect because it is formalized, implemented and enforced within a specific context. Generally law and property are both geographical and political. This is an assertion by Mustafa[22] who says that law and state apparatus are inextricably linked in the process of production of social special partens of access to resources and empowerment of certain social agents in the process ..
Blomley [23] says that state has a legal monopoly over the land territory through legal enactments. In principle, law should provide tools for administrations and judicial procedure to protect the land rights.
The study shows the multiple legal situation in Tanzania were land and resource property has accommodated notions of private , common /collective or granted law in land ownership in the beginning of the 1990’s. State law also lagged decades behind states policy changes Tenga, [24] he went on saying that changes in law and property have taken place with force and violence ever since the colonial time example the land ordinance 1923 remodified and re- co -structuring the local systems of customary land tenure from 1921 on wards.
Lane’s study (1991)[25] shows that the disruption of the Barbeig people’s land use and their pastoral economic was due to allocated lands grant to National Food Cooperation (NAFCO) and Canada Tanzania wheat Programme.

Other writers like Potkanski[26] argued that Sonjo and maasai dispute was due to competitions over water , he made a study and found the resource based conflict between the two hostile group. Mbonile[27] with the case of Pangani Basin says that immigrations of people should be taken as the major cause of resource based conflicts. [28]
.Mustafa (supra) argues that law can be contingent, political and contestable often perpetuating and legitimizing exploitative and oppressive geographies of social power.
Some people have translated to mean that there was no need to respect boundaries and it was great incentive to lawlessness. These local boundary problems seem to be maximized by conflict between customary law and land law.

v The reasons behind the problem seems to be the state intervention by grabbing the land, imposing hard and unknown laws, hunting concessions with resource user right for game were given for outsiders.
v The Overlapping of the following laws around and within the disputed areas, “the local government laws, forest laws, land laws, conservation law, environmental and wildlife laws and laws of migrations” is also doubted to be factor fueling this problem.
v The influx of notorious Loita from Kenya and solders from Somali make us to assume that laws of migrations in Tanzania have failed to accommodate the nature of this boarder where one clan extends to both sides of the boarder.
v Also the lack of knowledge of the formulated policies and laws to majority and Resource curse are also doubted to be the factors behind the persistent nature of this dispute and this is because citizens are not involved in policy making and ultimately finds them living in extreme poverty. Therefore the increase resource based conflict can turn into ethnic conflict.

My case study area will be Sale division and Loliondo division in Ngorongoro district. This study has been substantively selected due to the following reasons. The area has been historically facing the dispute between Maasai and Sonjo/Batemi and sometime Maasai themselves. The following village are victims of conflicts. Loosoito, Malon, Eyasi/Mdito(Sonjo), Kisangoro( sonjo) Mughole (Sonjo) and Nga’rwa. The dispute most of the time breaks along the border land areas of these villages and wildlife conservation area like Loliondo Game Controlled Area.

Methods and tools of data collection selected are interviews, questionnaire, story telling and group discussion. These methods are selected because of the nature of the area and people. Sometime you need to meet elders and have group discussion with them as they have long experience of the conflicts questionnaires will mainly be directed to police officers, leaders and district council officers. Library research will serve as another method of collecting data as served libraries will be visited including UDSM libraries.


Adams, W, M and Potknaski, T and Sutton J.E.G (1994). Indigenous Farmer Managed irrigation in Sonjo Tanzania, The Geographical journal.

Ojalammm,S.(1995).Contested land Dispute in Semi and – Parts of Northern Tanzania Case study of Loliondo and Sale division. Ph.D Dissertation, University of Helisinki .

Ole Nangoro Benedict, N.(1998). Brandy the land “Maasai Responses to Resource Tenure Insecurity and Social change PP. 15- 80. In Horn F. (Ed) Economic Social and Cultural Rights of the Maasai, University of Lapland: Rovaremi.

Potknaski Thomas (1994),Livestock as Collective Conflicting with Individual Properly: Property Rights Pastoral Economy and mutual Assistance among the Ngorongoro Salei Maasai of Tanzania, 200P. PhD. Dissertation, University of Warsaw, Warsaw .

Shivji, Issa, G, and Kapinga Wilbert B (1988). The land Maasai rights in Ngorongoro Tanzania 114. 4P, Drlands Pro. 11ED, 11ED/Hakiardlhi, London.

Blomley ,N,K.(1994).Law Space Geography of the Power ,Gulford Press , New York.
Lavigne, Dellule ,Philippe . (1998) .Rural land and Tenure ,Renewable Resources and Development in Africa, 131p, Paris .

Mustafa ,D.(2001) Colonial Law ,Contemporary water issues in Pakistan ,Political Geography, 20,817-37 pp.

Bomley ,NK.(2004).Unsettling The City ,Urban Land and the Politics of Property, 207 .P.Routlage ,London.

Tenga ,R,W.(1991).Tanzania land law, .A Paper Presented in Proceedings of Arusha Workshop on land Policy August 27-29 -1991.

Mbonile,Miline,J,(2003).Migration and Intensification of Water Conflicts in Pangani Basin,Tanzania.Habitat International.1-28

Torvick Ragna, et al.Institutions and Resource Curse. The Economic Journal (2005)


Brehony E.. Draft Report on Efforts Resolves Conflicts between the Sonjo and Loita Session of The maasai :Embassy of Ireland(2004/2005)
Parkipunyi M.E.Security of Land Tenure Statement of the Problem (1991).Report.
Henry A’Fosbrook. Emerging Conflicts in Land Use.Paper Presented at Mikumi Workshop on Conservation and Development (1988)
____________(1991) Eviction of Pastoralists from Mkomazi Reserve :Draft report.
Kabudi P.J. (2001). Legislating Community of CRRS Experience of Wildlife and Forest legislation.
Anhem K.(1984.Two Sides of Development :Maasai Pastoralist and Wildlife Conservation in Ngorongoro,Tanzania .University of Uppsala :Sweden.
Brockington ,D(1998) Land Loss and Livestork.The Effect of Eviction of Pastoralist Moved from Mkomazi Game Reserve,Tanzania:Ph D. Thesis University College London.
FAO. Community Forests Herders Decision Making in Natural Resource Management in Semi arid Africa 126P FAO. Rome
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[1] The word herders here is used to mean pastoralists who move with their herds of cattle, sheep and goat in search of pastures, water and sometimes to run from animal diseases.
[2] Personal interview
[3] See for example Sanna Ojalammi in Contested land disputes in Semi Arid Parts of Northern Tanzania
[4] Ngorongoro watakiwa kuwadhibiti wahamiaji haramu. 24th /03/2008:Nipashe.
[5] .Ojalammi S.Contested land disputes in Semi Arid Parts of Northern Tanzania
[6] Somali raids and kills 9 ,Daily News 3.11. .1998
[7] Loita is a Maasai clan commonly found in Tanzania and Kenya .
[8] who narrates that when he went to the battle field to
call the fight off, the Batemi fighters wanted to be given permission to finish the
Kenyan intruders (‘Mkuu wacha tuwamalize hawa wavamizi wa Kenya’, are his
exact words) {Daily news paper Saturday, April 16, 1994 }

[9] In 1990, a joint survey project was carried out by ADDO, KIPOK, IUCN and SRCS, using
experts from the regional land office. The project was aimed at demarcating
boundaries between villages in order to secure villages lands which was under
.Mr. Ole Saitabau a surveyor from Arusha Region Land office who was involved in the project
to demarcate boundaries in Loliondo and Sale division villages

[10] Tarvick and others . TInstitutios and Resource Curse .Economic Journal (2005)
[11] Apigwa Risasi vurugu za mwekwzaji na Wafugaji Kulikoni jumanne Aprili 22,2008.
[12] DC Aseri Msangi was quoted saying: “In the army, as far as war planning is concerned, there is something called D-Day and H-Hour. These are important moments in time when signals for attack can be issued,” says Msangi. “In the recent clash between these two groups, there is evidence to show that D-Day and H-Hour techniques were employed by one group,” he adds. Explaining, Msangi says that on September 5 this year, Sonjo tribesmen attacked Masai villages from four fronts and the attacks have all signs of collaboration as they occurred simultaneously. “Since clashes between these two groups started almost a century ago, we had never experienced something of that nature in this conflict,” he explains. ( Daily News 23,3,11 (2004),
[13] “We are not in conflict with all Maasai clans. We are clashing with the Loita clan in Kenya. They have been crossing the border to our side in search for pastures.
[14] Report on mediation on the Batemi –Loita Conflict –Held at Olmotonyi Forest Training Cenntre August 31st –September 4,2004.
[15] Ibid
[16] . Mwarabu apewa ruksa loliondo na JWTZ yapewa magari ya ghuba, Mwananchi 17.20.10

[17] .Ole Nangoro B.(1998) .Branding the land Maasai Response to Resource and Tenure Security and Social change pp 15-80.
[18] See also the daily News 23rd/11 (1998), Daily New 12th and 15th, 1(2002). And Sunday News 20.1 (2000) reported the matter.
[19] .Shivji Issa ,G and Kapinga W.B.The land and Masai Rights in Ngorongoro.
[20] Holloway and Hubbard
[21] .Blomley .(1994)
[22] Mustafa (2001)
[23] Blomley (2004)
[24] Tenga (1991)
[25] Lane (1991)
[26] Potkanski (1998)
[27] Mbonile (2003)
[28] Some of the resource based conflicts due to forced migrations of pastoralist from their local areas include eviction of the Maasai from Ihefu Valley to Lindi , from Ngorongoro to Olonyosambu (a small village in Ngorongoro) and the eviction of members of the same ethnic group from Rufiji and Kilosa. Also on 6th March , 2008 ITV reported the conflict between nomadic pastoralist and herders at kisarawe .

1 comment:

TEKU BAED said...

conguratration for your good article