Friday, December 24, 2010

Natural Resource Curse in Ngorongoro

Natural Resource Curse in Loliondo

Ngorongoro District is the richest District in Tanzania in terms of natural resources, but surprisingly the district is leading in resource based conflicts and poverty.Ngorongoro Districts produces more than 50 billion per year yet its people do not enjoy part of the collected resources equally.For instance Nngorongoro Conservation Authority collects about 40 billion per year but the District Council do not receive any distribution for the development of its people. In Ngorongoro local communities are weakened in favour of investors. It is polarisation of wealth and poverty at two opposite extremes. It is all sheer robbery, criminal plunder of the weak by the strong. Condemnation of pastoralists and cultivators as simply trouble-mongers, who must be dealt with, has never ceased since 1992 when OBC acquired village land in Loliondo. Mashrooming of tourism related investment activities found to be key player to the resource based conflict in Ngorongoro. Citizens from the grass root are not involved in policy making. Natural resource curse, became new player due to the fact that indigenous don’t benefit from natural resources around them. The rights to exercise permanent sovereignty over natural resources have been put in jeopardy in Ngorongoro ever since. The parasitic stratum between Investors through Government officials revealed the way Natural resource curse play a role to endlessly resource based conflicts in Ngorongoro and Africa in general.Masaai in a have lived with the nature for many years now but today they named as destroyers of the environment. Who is killing Loliondo between pastoralist and investors like OBC? The answer is simple its investment activities on the land that kill the nature of Loliondo but not pastoralists. Animals and livestock have been in many years in coexistence then how come today agents of investors stand and mislead the public about the current situation in Loliondo.

Resource-based conflicts should constitute one of the major development challenges in Ngorongoro. Indeed, this is consistent with the reality all over the dry lands of Africa where conflict has become endemic. In a global review of pastoralism and conflict, have shown how areas occupied by pastoralists are characterised by conflicts emanating from competition for natural resources. Competition for access to range resources leads to conflict among pastoralists and between them and other livelihoods and land use systems that seek the use of the same resources. The ongoing displacement of pastoralist in Ngorongoro District is just continuation of the movement started during colonial time in 1958. The on going progress of demarcating village lands in Loliondo aims at cutting about 1,500 Sq.Km from 4,5000 Sq land size of Lollindo Game Controled Area and remove all remove all pastoralist villages to form a Baffer Zone.When the process of despalcing pastoralists becomes true then almost 75 % of Ngorongoro territory will be realocated exclusively for wildlife tourism management leaving out the pastoralists without necessary resources like land, pasture and water for their livehoods.This was even emphasized by the Minister for Natural resources Hon Ezekiel Maige who visited loliondo on 21st/12/2010 in a bid to respond to various allegations raised by Habari cooperation that Loliondo Game controlled area is dying.

“ I now leave loliondo, but you should all know that my visit to loliondo was not for village land demarcation but I came to verify the rumors disseminated by a media through the entire country that Maasai in Loliondo under the assistance of NGOs and religious institutions have resorted to destroy the loliondo game controlled area… surprisingly what I saw is not the same as what the papers have told the public…but you should all know that village derrmacation program is still on the way to come..but this can be the last resort after attempting other measures” Said the minister.

The demarcation of the village land was not the main issue during his visi but many Loliondo councilors and villagers admit that the minister ensured them that the loliondo village land will be exclusively reallocated for wildlife tourism management leaving out pastoralists without their prime land and other resources.Yanick Doinyo who is Ololosokwan ward councilor had this to say when talked to me over the phone.

“The minister managed to walk all over the entire forest with us and we observed that there is no any serious environmental degradation as it was reported by a certain media outlet. There were no farming activities, no big heards of cattle, no permanent building and no excessive burning.but the minister admitted that there is serious conflict in the area which needs a resolution involving all stakeholders…the minister was very wise and obedient to local leaders defferent with the former minister…angekuwa ni Yule mama nadhani ingekuwa ni vurugu..we real hope the problem can be resolved amicably without harming the community” Said Hon Doinyo.

Onother reliable source revealed that the minister condemned the OBC boss for siding only with DCs and RC’s and forget to reconcile with local communities.
“Nilazima OBC mtambue vijiji nao wanahaki zao, hii ni ardhi yao hamna hifadhi eneoe hili zaidi ya kuwa eneo la uwindaji..msipotaka usuluushi na wananchi mtakuwa kaitka hali mbaya zaidi” said the minister
The case of Loliondo unlawful eviction was a hot agenda in 2009 parliamentary debates, as well as at national and international forums. This happened after malicious and ruthless operations carried out in Loliondo by Police forces in collaborations with OBC. The matter was later taken to the parliament for deliberation. I have found out that, the report of the Parliamentary committee sent to probe the matter in Loliondo was not presented in the parliament because of political interests. The Government justified its brutal actions by saying the victims of Loliondo evictions were Kenyans causing nuisance to an investor from Arab. When addressing the assembly, one of the members of parliament had fiercely condemned the government for embracing and giving red carpet treatment to investors at the expense of its people.

“Mbona Mwalimu Nyerere alikuwa anawakatalia hata Wazungu mambo mengi tu! Alikuwa anawakatalia! Lakini siku hizi sisi tunawakumbatia sana wawekezaji, tunaacha kuwasikiliza wananchi.” The MP uttered.(Why ,Mwalimu Nyerere could refuse to accept many of the things which were asked by foreigners! , he used to reject many things from foreigners, but to day we embrace investors so much at the expense of citizens.)Uttered the MP

The eviction of Maasai pastoralists from the reserve [Mkomazi] in 1988 was done to create a conducive environment for wildlife species. Eviction of people from their land, under any cover, is a “gross violation of human rights.”In reference to the Ramsar Site Convention of 1971 the Lake Natron area was declared to be Ramsar site without peoples concern and hence became a threat to presence of pastoralist living around the lake on their jurisdiction and sovereignty over natural resources. Pastoral communities have for many years been moving to the south, Tanzania tremendously faces another kind of the Maasai migration to urban centers beginning during early 1990s in search of wage labour and other income earning activities. The reasons for such movements include loss of livestock due to diseases, drought, and limited land for livestock keeping, worshiped investors like OBC, extended conservations , expansion of protected areas etc. The land leased to OBC and the other sold to Thomson Safari in Loliondo are seasonal migrated corridors. The same situation was found taking place in Sudan whereby most of the pastoralist seasonal migrated corridors were granted to investors from U.A.E, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Authority (NCA) occupies more than a half of the District land (59%). All people within the conservation area have no right of ownership and even villages are not recognized. Mount Lengai and Lake Natron Game controlled have been hunted by NCA and hash Project companies. The erosion of pastoralist land to the hand of outsiders did not cease, currently Thomson Safaris Company possess 12000 acres of pastoralists grazing land.The situation in Ngorongoro District is defined by competition for access to land and natural resources underpinned by competing land uses and livelihoods. From the 1990s onwards, land disputes between settled agricultural and mobile pastoral people have become more common in Tanzania. These land disputes have been due to land alienation and multiple allocations of land/resource rights on village lands.

Conflicts on village lands have developed when State authorities have favored land allocations to investors at the expense of pastoralists. Liberalization has prompted high marginalization. Thus causing conflicts over natural resources. This was possible because when they move elsewhere in order to secure for forming and grazing are, they cause conflict with people they meet, we have at hand live examples at Rufiji, Ihefu, Kilosa and lindi. Ruthless evictions have been carried out in forms of promoting investment and attracting foreign investment and attracting foreign investor land has been alienated to hoteliers for purpose of tourism in and around National parks We currently have great conflicts with hoteliers at Ngorongoro who wants to build hotels almost every where at conservation area while the laws prohibits indigenous to build modern buildings. Also exclusive hunting right granted to outsider like (OBC) in Loliondo all these is evident from discussions with villagers and other stakeholders in the District, that a major cause of conflict between conservation related investors and local communities in the district is the information gap that surrounds the grant of licenses to the investors, the terms under which the licenses are granted, and the benefits that communities are supposed to get from the operations. This is now what we call a natural resource curse in Ngorongoro.
A key cause of this situation is the lack of clarity about the legal status of the land and the relative powers and responsibilities of the central government and the village authorities regarding the management of access to the land for purposes of conservation related investments. A key example is OBC in 1992 was granted the land without people’s consultation and District council signed on behalf of villages. The above act of District councils amounts to violation of constitutional rights. The situation is further complicated by the multiplicity of policy, legal and institutional mandates surrounding the Loliondo Game Controlled Area.Loss of Land though Government acquisition and creation of conservation areas and game reserves have deprived people’s Land. Such measurers have created Land less mobile pastoralists and farmers. Lack of community participation in land use planning and zoning for different use is the main source of conflicts in Ngorongoro.The central focus of the community complaints is that they are not considered (hatushirikishwi).Many land laws reforms have been made since colonial time through independence up to now, without any positive concern to improve pastoral land tenure. Tanzania 1990’s land laws reforms and 2009 Wild Life Act have been noted to have negative implication on pastoral land tenure. Pastoralism needs a vast chunk of land to practice rotational grazing. The new land law is silent on the question of pastoral land rights. The pastoral livelihood and lifestyle have been forced to change to meet the requirement of the new land laws. Copping mechanism like migrations to cities and economic diversification have been the best options for pastoralist to secure their lives. Pastoralist land has been named as No man’s land and categorized into group of general land. Encroachment of the pastoral lands to allow huge investment and expansions of the protected areas has been and order of the day and leave pastoralist as internally displaced people. The National Land Policy condemns pastoralist as unfriendly to environment. The given process of certification of the village land by the new land laws to secure their village lands is cumbersome, prohibitive and bureaucratic.
By Onesmo Olengurumwa Vice President Ngorongoro Elites Association (NDUSA)

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