Friday, 29 August 2014

My Reply to Lies About Loliondo in UNWTO Handbook

I’ve come across an “International Handbook onTourism and Peace” that’s published by the Centre for Peace Research and Peace Education of the Klagenfurt University in Austria in cooperation with the United Nations World Tourism Organization. There’s a chapter in this handbook that deals with the conflict between the people of Loliondo and the government working in the interest of the “investor” OBC, but unfortunately this chapter gets some basic facts totally wrong presenting last year’s land grabbing attempt by the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism led by the then Minister Khamis Kagasheki as “entirely based on wisdom”! I sent an email - copied and pasted below – to the writer of the chapter and to the two editors of the handbook. This handbook was launched already in January this year with the support of the Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth and the Ministry of European and International Affairs of Austria. I’d kindly ask everyone reading this blog post to if possible share it with anyone who has read the disinformation of the handbook. I have so far only read the chapter about Loliondo and hope that the rest is not in the same vein. (Though I wouldn’t know since I only have detailed information about Loliondo…)

Email sent on Thursday 28th August 2014 22:47 “Misleading information in Handbook on Tourism and Peace‏”.

Dear Emmanuel, Cordula and Werner (writer and editors),

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Model for Community-Based tourism Through Violence and Dispossession – More About Thomson Safaris’ “Enashiva” in Loliondo

In memory of Moringe ole Parkipuny, sadly missed for one year now.

-There have been some meetings.
-In a meeting with the District Commissioner an agreement was made that cows and herders will no longer be harassed on the occupied land, but will graze freely.
-What happened when Olunjai Timan was shot because of Thomson Safaris’ occupation of Maasai land.
-And a reminder of what the “philanthropic” land grabber has been doing during these years.

Olunjai Timan (I’ve earlier been spelling his name “Olonjai”) left hospital returning home to Mondorosi on 16th July, one week after being shot by a policeman working for Thomson Safaris. His wound still needs regular cleaning and dressing.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Herder Shot Because of the “Philanthropic” Thomson Safaris – and Other Loliondo Land Threat News

Olonjai Timan was shot by a policeman working for Thomson Safaris.
I’m having problems getting updates about the cases against herders accused by Thomson, but am waiting to hear a sentence today (11th July).
I’m also having problems getting updates about OBC.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Another Delayed Update About the Land Grabbers of Loliondo – or who is a Kenyan?

There’s talk about a security and intelligence camp in Loliondo.
An NGO staff member was “accused” of being “Kenyan”.
In April the Boston Globe published a biased article about Thomson Safaris’ land grab.
It’s being looked into how the District Council could get out of the court case.
And Thomson Safaris again physically and judicially attack the people whose land they have taken.

This blog post is unnecessarily delayed for the usual reasons, but I’ve got some information that I can share.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Tanapa Rangers Commit Arson in Arash – and Other News about Loliondo Land Threats*

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism issued threats against pastoralists.
Tanapa rangers burned down bomas in Arash – and no action was taken against this.
There’s a dangerous lack of unity.
Seasonal OBC worker travel to Loliondo in the middle of the rainy season.
FZS are hard at work making top recruitments to carry out their plans for Loliondo.
Thomson Safaris continue occupying Maasai land and the court case against them is ongoing.
The American organisation EarthRights lends a hand to the struggle.
Update 22nd April: on 18th April the 1782 application in Massachusetts to get access to documents about Thomson was granted and on the 22nd there was a press release. http://www.earthrights.org/media/tanzanian-maasai-villagers-win-fight-information-about-land-grabs-and-forced-eviction-against

I’ve managed to get some information after much chasing of people in possession of it. Part of it is very serious news, but almost without debate and apparently totally without action taken.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

More About the Land Grabbing “Investors” of Loliondo (and NCA)

The rains came.
Kagaheki, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, resigned for Christmas and this was celebrated in Loliondo.
OBC isn’t doing anything at all (?)
In NCA Kakesio´s problem with the Friedkin group of companies continues and the NCAA isn’t doing much about it.
Thomson Safaris continue occupying Maasai land and presenting it as a model for community-based tourism, and again physically assault people who resist the occupation by grazing.
NGOs like Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Honeyguide Foundation excel in negative influence.

The dry season was on the way towards a catastrophe, but in early December it started raining seriously and the grass sprouted.

I’ve got some information about the latest land grabbing developments in Loliondo – and Kakesio (in NCA) – but as usual this blog post is delayed since it unfortunately takes some effort to get exact information, and some issues still have to wait to be written about.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Thomson Safaris Sue the Website Stop Thomson Safaris

Another example of the spirit of the safari company that occupies 12,617 acres of Maasai grazing land in Loliondo, violently harass the legitimate landowners and finds it appropriate to aggressively present this as a model of community-based conservation.

I’m having some annoying problems getting exact information about issues that I need to include in next blog post. Instead I’ll first write about another issue that I’ve wanted to mention for a long time and it’ll get its own post.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Good News, Strange News, Worrying Developments, Idiotic Comments and Inexplicable Silences about Loliondo Land Threats

After some months of silence central government reappeared and disappeared in Loliondo. Then the Prime Minister appeared and declared that the 1.500km2 belong to the Maasai and their coming generations thereby reversing the threats and lies by the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism.
Long term FZS head comes out in support of the Government and OBC.
The court case against Thomson Safaris is ongoing, there’s still unity, but sinister old manager is back.
This dry season turned bad and grazing in Serengeti NP was needed. Cows and people were arrested with strange charge sheets.

After the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki, had spent the first part of 2013 issuing threatening and bizarre statements about the Government’s intention of taking 1,500km2 of important grazing land for a “wildlife corridor” and several protest delegations from Loliondo had visited Dar es Salaam and Dodoma, the Prime Minister wrote a letter to the Arusha Regional Commissioner on 30th May and everything went quiet. Kagasheki had gone as far as calling the Maasai “landless” invaders of their own land, and saying that they were being “given” land since the Government would not take the whole of Loliondo Game Controlled Area (that in its totality is village land). The Prime Minister, in contrast, did recognise that the land does belong to the villages, but otherwise his letter wasn’t very promising since the PM did not show an understanding of the importance of this land for pastoralism. Nothing was ever heard from the Regional Commissioner about the Prime Minister’s letter.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Brief Summary of the – Hopefully Now Forever Stopped – Plan of Grabbing 1,500km2 from the Maasai of Loliondo


The Government of Tanzania has repeatedly declared interest in taking 1,500km2 of important dry season grazing land bordering Serengeti National Park from the Maasai of Loliondo and Sale divisions of Ngorongoro District.

Under the provisions of the Village Land Act No 5 of 1999 – and under customary land tenure since as long as can be remembered - this land belongs to the villagers of Ololosokwan, Soitsambu, Oloipiri, Oloirien, Maaloni, Arash, Malambo and Piyaya – and the land is also of vital seasonal importance for pastoralists beyond the borders of these villages. The loss of this land would signify the destruction of tens of thousands of lives and livelihoods.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Another Loliondo Visit - A Kind of Safari Report

In memory of Moringe Parkipuny

In July 2013 I managed to return to Loliondo and meet some people affected by Thomson Safaris’occupation of 12,617 acres of Maasai land.

This report is maybe too personal, but not of the kind written in another time. It focuses on the land threats (and me seeking information about them) and not my inadequacies as a tourist, weird and wonderful people and animals I've met, or efforts to wash my hair without running water. The report may contain some whining and ranting.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Loliondo Land Threats - Latest Developments

In memory of Moringe Parkipuny who too early passed away in Karatu on 22nd July 2013. You are sadly missed and your spirit will never be allowed to die.

A long awaited letter from the Prime Minister regarding 1,500sq km under threat contradicts the lies repeated by the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, but does otherwise not have much substance.
Newfound unity among the villages around the land occupied by Thomson Safaris.

OBC and the government’s 1,500sq km land grab plan
In my latest update I mentioned a delegation of traditional leaders that had travelled to Dar es Salaam demanding to see the president about the announced threat to their lives and livelihoods - 1,500sq km of important dry season grazing land that also “happen” to be the core hunting area of Otterlo Business Corporation taken away by the government for “conservation”. The demands were not met and the delegation headed on to Dodoma to see Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda. In Dodoma the traditional leaders were joined by other delegations from Loliondo in what seemed like a rather fruitless and costly wait.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Delayed Updates about the Attackers on Land Rights in Loliondo – Thomson Safaris, OBC and, the Government of Tanzania



Thomson Safaris step up their propaganda while continuing the occupation of Maasai grazing land at their self-styled 'Enashiva Nature Reserve' – and their land grab PR person since 2007 appears as a graduate student in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy.
The Government through Tanzania National Parks Authorities and later the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism renews and intensifies the threat of grabbing a 1,500sq km “wildlife corridor”. And on 26th March 2013 the Government declares total war on the people of Loliondo.

To my frustration I’ve not been able to return to Loliondo for over a year and a half, but I’ve managed to obtain some information from a selection of very busy people. The information about some issues is still incomplete, but I can’t wait any longer to publish this ridiculously delayed update.

I did publish some reports I got from NCA in a separate blog post

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The “Other” Part of Ngorongoro District – A Few Reports that I got from Ngorongoro Conservation Area



I cut this out from an un-published blog post that was becoming too long and too old since I had problems making busy people check if I had understood their information correctly and since there were too many worrying developments in Loliondo that have since grown into a full declaration of war from the government (I’ve written about it here and here). I’ll shortly also post the information I had got about Thomson Safaris and about the “corridor”/OBC.

Hunger in NCA and a parliamentary committee recommends that Oldoinyo Lengai also be placed under the NCAA. Plus an almost unreported attack on Kakesio by a WMA “investor” from neighbouring district.

This blog is about Loliondo and I do need to study Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) more closely, but I’d like to share some worrying information that has reached me thanks to Solomon ole Yiapa, Kinama Marite and other people from the area.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Tanzanian Government Insists on Grabbing Maasai Land in Loliondo



The Tanzanian government, through the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki, is moving forward with a plan of taking 1,500 square kilometres which are essential dry season grazing land for the Maasai of Loliondo in Ngorongoro District.

The main economic activity and source of livelihood of the people of Loliondo is pastoralism – moving livestock between seasonal grazing areas - that compared to other land uses is relatively compatible with wildlife – and this is a major reason that their land is so sought after by the tourism industry and the Government.

In 1959 all people were evicted from the vast Serengeti by the British Government for the purpose of establishing the National Park. Among them the Maasai that were moved to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and also to Loliondo. Contrary to promises the Tanzanian government has continued with a greedy eye on lands that it wants for the exclusive use of hunting and photographic tourism. Currently this greed is focused on a corridor of land in Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Beacons from Hell



The most recent efforts by the Tanzanian government to grab a “corridor” of land from the people of Loliondo

The threat of a corridor of extension of Serengeti National Park onto village land in Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District has again reared its ugly head. On 20th November 2012 villagers from Ololosokwan went to Klein’s Gate and it was established that Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) were planning to put border beacons – that had been brought and were being stored - far inside land belonging to the village. They already tried this in 2008 and then the beacons were destroyed by angry villagers, some of whom were arrested for a few hours until fellow villagers forced their release. Through the years TANAPA have tried many bad tricks and then there have been times of uneventful coexistence. Similar attempts at expanding borders are going on around most protected areas in Tanzania.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Article about Loliondo land threats on Just Conservation’s website



On 2nd December Just Conservation – a network that’s an open space for all who care about the conservation of our world and who want to see it achieved with justice, compassion, dignity and honesty – published an article I had written as a short overview of land grabs in Loliondo.

Here is the link:


I’ll very soon publish a post about the current crisis caused by the government moving forward with the plans of grabbing a corridor of Loliondo land next to Serengeti National Park, and before the end of the year I have to post an update about Thomson Safaris and some other issues.

Odupoi Ndekerei  - one of the three young boys who in August were beaten at Thomson’s camp and arrested for “trespassing” and whose court case was dismissed since the prosecution did not show up and there was no supporting evidence - was yesterday again arrested by Thomson’s guard for “trespassing” and grazing cattle on the grabbed land. Today he remains at Loliondo police station without legal representation.

Thomson Safaris are also moving on with the absurd court case against five young herders that were arrested and humiliated in July. The main hearing is on the 14th December. It’s the abused people that should sue Thomson! Though I suppose there aren’t resources for this. At least the land case is continuing.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Negotiations – Another Update on Thomson Safaris’ Land Grab in Loliondo


I have got some information from Loliondo that I’ve tried to check with different sources and would like to share here on my blog.

Let’s start with the rare good news: the appeal was successful! On 31 May 2011 the case against Tanzania Conservation Ltd (Thomson Safaris) and Tanzania Breweries Ltd was dismissed on a preliminary objection. The objection was that it’s exactly the same case as in the late 80s, which is not correct. An appeal was sought and in May 2012 it was granted. Now there will be a full trial in the high court. The court case moves slowly delaying the deliverance of justice. I’m worried, but it seems people closer to the happenings seem confident that justice will prevail and the land will be returned to the community.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Revisiting Loliondo – a Safari Report

In early 2010 I visited Loliondo in Tanzania where I as a tourist wanted to ask some questions about the case of Boston-based Thomson Safaris establishing their private “Enashiva Nature Refuge” on Maasai grazing land and presenting it as a shining example of “community empowerment”. This led to an amazing overreaction that a clearly illustrated how Tanzanian authorities favour the interests of “investors” over those of the customary landowners when the Ngorongoro District Commissioner confiscated my passport and sent me to Arusha where I was declared a “prohibited immigrant” and thrown out of the country.
I’ve written about this HERE.

Towards the end of September 2011 my return was long overdue and I got a ticket for Nairobi. I had high expectations of, without getting into too much danger, talking with a wide selection of people who could share information about Thomson Safaris and also Otterlo Business Corporation, but these expectations were only partially fulfilled.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Corridor - and the Story of OBC in Loliondo

Maasai pastoralists in Loliondo are under the threat of having a massive 1,500-km2 piece of dry season grazing land taken away from them by the Tanzanian government. This will have a decidedly negative impact on their livelihoods and has to be stopped.

I’ve been trying to find out the background, and this is a summary of what I’ve found so far. I may have to make some amendments if I receive information that I’ve been waiting for a bit too long now.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Some Updates on Thomson Safaris and Otterlo Business Corporation in Loliondo

Unfortunately I have not yet been able to return to Loliondo, but I think it’s time, one year after my visit, to write an update using the information that has reached me here in Sweden. For a – necessary - background of the issue at hand here’s my first blog post:

http://termitemoundview.blogspot.com/2010/03/sukenya-farm-conflict-what-thomson.html

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

In Short About Thomson Safaris’ ”Enashiva” Project

This is an old - though still valid - blog post. Please observe that there are many updates. http://termitemoundview.blogspot.se/

I’ve been asked for something shorter about Thomson Safaris than my, “The Sukenya Farm Conflict – What Thomson Safaris are up to in Loliondo and How I Became a Prohibited Immigrant in Tanzania”. I feel like I already left out too much in that blog entry, but I’ll give it a try.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Loliondo Women Say Enough is Enough

I was waiting to write something about recent developments in Loliondo until having the whole picture clear and some really good article to link to, but now it has occurred to me that a blog is a web log with ongoing commentary.

I’ve been told that on 6 April Maasai women had started gathering in the villages to go to Loliondo town and hand in their CCM (government party) cards. They were protesting against the July 2009 evictions to give way to the UAE hunting company Otterlo Business Corporation. The evictions included the burning of houses and other human (and animal) rights abuses. Several children were lost in the chaos and one of them has not been found. I have a summary of these events in my first blog entry. A parliamentary report into the evictions was supposed to be presented in Parliament in February, but was blocked by the CCM caucus. There’s considerable risk that the report is a whitewash, but a debate in parliament is needed.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Sukenya Farm Conflict – What Thomson Safaris are up to in Loliondo and How I Became a Prohibited Immigrant in Tanzania

In a hidden corner of the world in the far north of Tanzania lies Loliondo Division, one of the three divisions – Ngorongoro, Loliondo and Sale - of Ngorongoro District where for hundreds of years people have lived of cattle, managing the land communally as wet and dry season grazing, like the wild animals migrate seasonally. This together with the Maasai pastoralists’ cultural aversion to eating game meat has been part in making the area the most spectacular place in the world for watching wildlife and the land has therefore become very valuable - which has been far from only a blessing. Under pressure from international conservation all people were evicted from the huge Serengeti National Park in 1959. The colonial government made a deal with the Maasai living in the eastern part of the National Park giving them land further east in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (some also moved to Loliondo Game Controlled Area) where their interests would be paramount, but instead the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority now reserves the right to decide where the Maasai can graze their cattle and to evict or relocate families that they don’t consider original inhabitants of the area. Human population has increased greatly since the 60s, but the number of cattle has not, while at the same time the NCAA has strict regulations limiting food cultivation. In 1975 families living inside the world famous crater were chased out, eviction threats have been a constant over the years and have recently intensified. In Loliondo Game Controlled Area land conflicts are as common as dust and many of these conflicts originated in the late 80s during Tanzania’s transition from socialism to a more market orientated economy. Some often corrupt and, in those times, even more often illiterate leaders of village councils sold off communal lands to investors without the consent of village assemblies, and land was alienated in many other fraudulent ways.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Test

Testing, testing
I’m quite impatient to publish my first real blog entry, but first I need to check some facts about OBC.