Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Karkamoru is Threatened Again

The DC has visited Karkamoru in Kirtalo together with journalists.
Media has spread misinformation.

On Sunday 10th January TBC’s unbelievably uninformed – or worse - reporters claimed that people had “invaded”, started cultivating, and grazing their cattle area in something called “investor areas” (maeneo ya wawekezaji), “game controlled area” (pori tengefu, obviously meaning the WCA 2009 kind) and “corridor” (ushoroba) – and that the DC for Ngorongoro had ordered all human activities to be stopped. Surprisingly the news piece was from the Karkamoru sub-village of Kirtalo village that, as all readers of this blog - and everyone with basic knowledge about Loliondo - knows is village land according Village Land Act 1999. In the news piece appeared forest officer David Maghembe who, as reported by TBC, still dared to talk about Wildlife Conservation Act 2009, and thereby showing his probably willful stupidity. What we do know about Karkamoru is that it’s an irritant to OBC, as the hunters want the market to be closed down. (edit: OBC had sadly succeeded in having the market closed down, but I had not been told!) Cultivation has recently increased in Karkamoru and there are new bomas, partly due to the need to assert the land rights that are regularly being questioned by OBC and its servants. If OBC has ideas about how the land should be used, the company should approach the village that’s the landowner, and not the DC and police. Nobody, the DC included, can prevent the villagers from undertaking legal activities like cultivation and grazing, and it’s the village that should plan the land use in the best possible way. The TBC presenter even claimed that the “investor” legally owns the non-existent GCA. The chairman of Kirtalo, Yohana Toroge, explained that leaving the area was not a possibility. The DC appears in the news clip announcing a meeting, to talk about where cultivation is allowed, and not, planned for the 18th.

The malicious Channel 10, with its history of anti-Loliondo “reporting”, apparently cut out the Kirtalo chairman and added pictures of a fallen and cut up tree next to the olerai or fever trees at Wasso Hospital.

The following day the Daily News followed up with delusions about a “forest reserve” in Karkamoru that’s not even a forest area. According to this paper (unnamed journalist), the DC would have banned human activities in the imaginary “forest reserve”.

Some say that the DC also mentioned Ololosokwan, Oloipiri and Arash. Though leaders in Ololosokwan do not seem to have heard anything about this.

Let’s take it again…
OBC has been in Loliondo since 1992, with a permit to hunt – not to own land.

In the drought year 2009 there were extrajudicial evictions from OBC’s core hunting area next to Serengeti National Park, that’s also an important dry season grazing area. There was burning of houses and cattle were driven into a drought area. Karkamoru was one of the areas affected by this crime. Among other atrocities, a 7-year old girl from Arash was lost and has not been found, ever since.

In 2011 a draft district land use plan – totally funded by OBC – proposed turning 1,500 km2 next to Serengeti National Park into a protected area. This was the same area as from which people were evicted in 2009 (and to where they moved back). The kind of area proposed was a game controlled area as in Wildlife Conservation Act 2009, that does not allow human activities. Since the 50s 4,000 km2, more than the whole of Loliondo division, was already another kind of game controlled area – one that overlaps with village land and does not affect human activities. The plan was of course strongly rejected by Ngorongoro District Council.

In 2013 then Minister Kagasheki made remarkably untruthful statements claiming that the whole of Loliondo was a protected area, that the Maasai were “landless” and that they would be “given” their own land, except for the 1,500 km2 that the government would “keep”. This was obviously another nasty attempt at grabbing the 1,500 km2, after the failure in 2011, this time using loud lies. Following many meetings, protest delegations to Dar es Salaam and Dodoma, and support for the Maasai from both the governing party and the opposition, did PM Pinda, in a speech on 23rd September 2013, revoke Kagasheki’s threat and tell the Maasai that they could continue their lives as before – on their land.

There isn’t any game controlled area – of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2009 kind that’s a protected area - in Loliondo since such a thing has not been declared, as it should have been within one year of the act coming into operation – and since land laws take precedence over wildlife laws in matters of land, the land in Loliondo being village land according to Village Land Act 1999, while Wildlife Conservation Act 2009 does not allow GCAs and village land to overlap.

That journalists can still say that Loliondo is a protected area, or belongs to the “investor”, can only be explained by either deep incompetence, or total corruption.

Susanna Nordlund

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