The Loliondo "investors’" personal "journalist" Manyerere Jackton has written yet another "article" full of lies and misinformation, this time trying to defame the Member of Parliament for Ngorongoro (William Olenasha) by linking him to me, and then he repeats the Kagasheki-style 1,500 km land grab threat. He’s doing this while enjoying his own participation in illegal arrests and ill-treatment of innocent people with the aim of silencing voices crying for justice in Loliondo.
By now, Manyerere Jackton has written over twenty articles inciting against the Maasai of Loliondo, going to the extreme of claiming that 70 percent of Loliondo Maasai are “Kenyan” by nationality, and publishing lists of private individuals that allegedly have this nationality. Exactly like the Loliondo “investors”, Manyerere attempts to underrate the realities of land dispossession in Loliondo as something trivial, simulated and stirred up by “corrupt” non-government organisations. Last year I was illegally arrested in Loliondo and following my arrest, Manyerere also wrote several “articles” containing baseless and shameless lies about me.
Otterlo Business Corporation, OBC – a Dubai company/organisation, has had the Loliondo hunting block (permit to hunt) since 1992 and organises hunting trips for the highest levels of Emirati society. Right from the start, the grant of Loliondo hunting block became a scandal, branded as Loliondogate in the early 90s. The impropriety was broadly reported by journalist Stan Katabalo, who afterwards passed away in 1993 away under suspicious circumstances. The hunting block covers the whole of the 4,000 km2 Loliondo Game Controlled Area that’s more than the whole of Loliondo division of Ngorongoro district. All of the land covered by the hunting block is designated as village land in accordance with the Village Land Act No 5 of 1999 which consequently belongs to the local people of Loliondo.
OBC does not hunt in the whole 4,000 km2, but rather prefer hunting within a 1,500 km2 area next to Serengeti National Park which is also an important dry season grazing area.
This has led to several serious threats against this osero.
In 2009, and amidst one of the most serious droughts in recent times, local Maasai people were extrajudicially evicted from the 1,500 km2 area to accommodate for OBC’s interests. Hundreds of households were burned to the ground, thousands of livestock driven into an extreme drought area, and a 7-year old girl, Nashipai Gume, was lost in the chaos and has not been found, ever since. People eventually moved back.
The old kind of Game Controlled Area totally overlapped with village land and did not affect pastoralism and agriculture, but with Wildlife Conservation Act 2009 came a new kind of Game Controlled Area that was a protected area. If imposed on village land, the new model of Game Controlled Area would signify land grab, evictions, dispossession, and eventual resort to violence.
To put it clear, section 14(1) of the Wildlife Conservation Act, 2009 states that:
“the Minister may after consultation with the relevant local authorities, and by order in the Gazette, declare any area of land in Tanzania to be a game controlled area”,
Under section 16(5) the Act states further that:
“the Minister shall ensure that no land falling under the village land is included in the game controlled areas”
AND in 16(4):
“shall within twelve months of coming into operation of this act and after consultation of the relevant authorities, review the list of game controlled areas for ascertaining potentially justifying continuation of control of any such area”.
In early 2011, a draft District Land Use Plan – funded entirely by OBC – proposed turning the contentious 1,500 km2 of village land next to the Serengeti National Park into the kind of new Game Controlled Area. This treachery failed as the proposal was obviously rejected by the Ngorongoro District Council. To date, there is absolutely no area of Loliondo that has been declared the new kind of Game Controlled Area, that’s a protected area.
In 2013, Khamis Kagasheki, the then Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, in another attempt to please OBC, made threatening statements about the government’s intention to expropriate the 1,500 km2 of village land. Kagasheki announced the government’s position lying openly that the whole of Loliondo somehow had turned into a protected area, and that the government would be gifting the Maasai with land outside of the 1,500 km2.
Following Kagasheki misleading statements, there were many public meetings, and protest delegations were organised to Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. In response, in a speech at Wasso on 23rd September 2013, the then Prime Minister (PM), Mizengo Pinda, came forward to eventually and officially revoke Kagasheki’s threat to dispossess local Maasai of their land.
Since then, there hasn’t been any a statement from the government about taking any village land in Loliondo though there have allegedly been threats in closed meetings, and the most sinister and determined media campaign against the Maasai of Loliondo, led by “journalist” Manyerere Jackton. As part of this campaign, in each and every media appearance OBC’s general manager, Isaack Mollel keeps repeating the “opinion” that the Maasai of Loliondo don’t have any land.
In his latest “article” Manyerere both says it’s a lie that the government would have wanted to evict the Maasai – and repeats, as a “good idea”, a copy and paste of the Kagasheki threat, that’s a clear eviction threat in black on white… In the previous “article” he was also calling for the Prime Minister to renew the threat. Leading up the prevailing breakdown of rule of law in Loliondo, Manyerere wrote an article viciously defaming Maanda Ngoitiko of Pastoral Women’s Council, and adding baseless fabrications that I would have worked for PWC.
Afterwards, Manyerere and now ex-DC Hashim Mgandilwa went crazy when they somehow got hold of one of my requests for revocation of prohibited immigrant status. The ex-DC made sarcastic comments in social media and Manyerere sent me a copy of my request telling me, “Finally, you will know who is the worst journalist and who is the worst mzungu [European/white person]!” Since my prohibited immigrant status hadn’t been revoked, I went to Kenya instead and made the “mistake” of posting a photo from Olpusimoru - in Kenya - together with my friend from Loliondo, Clinton”Eng’wes” Kairung, on my private Facebook timeline. Some fifty people “liked” the photo, some commented nicely - and someone other sent the photo to Manyerere, who then sent it back to me together with his characteristic childish comments.
Then Clinton, who was back in Tanzania, “disappeared” and slowly surfaced confused information that he would have been arrested. This explains the front page of the Jamhuri Newspaper of 26th July, online on the 27th. Apparently, the Jamhuri found it appropriate to publish a photo of me and one of William Olenasha, Member of Parliament for Ngorongoro and Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries – not one together, since we have never met. The not so clever headlines are, “Waziri amhujumu Rais” (Minister sabotages the President), “Ahushizwa na “jasusi” mwanamke Mzungu” (He’s associated with a white woman “spy”), “Ni anayewaita viongozi wa Serikali “wanaharamu” (She’s the one who calls government officials “bastards”). The part that is really sinister is where Manyerere openly boasts about being in direct contact with those who are illegally arresting and persecuting innocent people. Besides the two photos is another one – of my private message to Clinton, when I was asking about his arrest, saying, “Upo (are you there)? Is it true? You can’t have your phone if your (sic) arrested…, and those bastards can’t arrest you for seeing me in Kenya, It would be insane..”. The word “bastards” obviously shocked Manyerere’s delicate sensibilities. English is not my first language, “bastards” is too lame, and has historical origins that I’m not really comfortable with. I need something much, much stronger for authorities engaging in pure, spine-chilling evil.
In addition, pretending to be shocked by that someone who spends considerable time and efforts on exposing the truth about land threatening “investors” in Loliondo, would have communicated with the MP for Ngorongoro, is even sillier.
Contrary to what Manyerere writes, the MP for Ngorongoro hasn’t been involved in any way in my request for revocation of PI status, not even giving me email addresses, but I have no doubt that he has very good reasons for this. The request is found at the end of this blog post, in case anyone would like to help.
Clinton – a 100% innocent secondary school teacher (Digodigo Sec. School) - was illegally arrested for ten days, for no other “reason” than being in contact with me ... that is illegal arrest as a weapon to frighten anyone into silence.
Supuk Maoi – another innocent secondary school teacher (Loliondo Sec. School) - was illegally arrested for eleven days.
The NGO coordinator Samwel Nangiria was arrested for eight days.
The chairman of Mondorosi, Joshua Makko, was arrested for several days.
The CCM councillor for Ololoskwan, Yannick Ndoinyo, was arrested for two days.
Special seats councillor for Chadema, Tina Timan, with whom I’ve never exchanged a word, was arrested for two days.
And the ex-MP Matthew Timan was arrested for one day.
Even though, as can be seen in several statements below, the law requires that anyone arrested should be taken to court no later than 24 hours after arrest, arbitrary arrests and detention has become a very usual phenomenon in Loliondo that's now practically lawless.
Advocate Shilinde Ngalula from Legal and Human Rights Centre arrived to do his job, but then he too was arrested – twice – the second time wearing his full court attire while waiting to represent his clients. Accusations against Advocate Shilinde, include “spying”...
Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition issued a statement.
An Habeas Corpus Petition was filed in the Arusha High Court by Jebra Kambole Sr. on behalf of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition.
An 26th July lawyers in Arusha held a manifestation to oppose the vicious act and the Tanganyika Law Society also issued a public statement.
In Loliondo the night temperature is below 10 degrees this time of the year, the windows of the mosquito infested cells don’t have glass, just bars, and everything is dirty concrete. I do hope these victims of totally corrupted authorities were allowed blankets. I wasn’t last year. (Thankfully, I have been informed that they are in good health.)
Clinton, Supuk and Samwel were released on bail on 26th July, but have to report again on 10th August at the police station. The charges are of the most maliciously ridiculous kind. I wish some Tanzanian comedian could do something with them:
"Kumiliki nyaraka za serikali. (Being in possession of government documents)
Kuwasiliana na jasusi. (Communicating with a spy)
Kutukana viongozi wa serikali kwa tusi la pumbavu. (Insulting government officials with stupid insults)"
Though laughable, the charges also show how a corrupt justice system can be twisted to victimize innocent people for crimes that do not exist in law, or have never been committed.
Manyerere wrote yet another “article” full of incitement, lies, defamation, and confusion…
I suppose it says something about Manyerere’s mindset that he keeps repeating his malicious fabrications that I would be living off Loliondo raising millions (he has also mentioned billions) of money. In this latest “article” he’s more specific about who’s paying me. It’s “European countries” and then I distribute the money to the NGOs in Loliondo, he says, so that there is endless conflict. I do not blog for profit or money. My aim is to expose hypocrisy and injustice, and perverse logic of tourism companies which dispossess the Maasai of their land. The fact is that nobody is giving me any money at all, and I haven’t asked anyone. Why would I keep spending so much time on applying for, and doing, dead-end teaching jobs that I dread? Why would I only visit East Africa once a year, or not even that? Anyone reading this is more than welcome to send me money, but it won’t happen. It doesn’t happen to social justice bloggers.
To support the “investors’” argument that the problem in Loliondo isn’t extrajudicial evictions, threats against a massive 1,500 km2, and blindingly corrupt authorities working for the investors, Manyerere engages in listing people working for NGOs (mostly UCRT and PWC), tourism companies, and supposed associated organisations – on the basis of scrambled, outdated and erroneous information, together with Manyerere’s own brand of baseless fabrications.
In this article Manyerere repeats to the old rhetoric that only one company is targeted and it’s because of some Waarabu versus Wazungu conflict. The so-called “journalist” chooses to ignore that the American Thomson Safaris - which rabidly, with violence, and spending thousands of dollars on lawyers and online reputation management experts, claims ownership of 12,617 acres of Maasai land in Loliondo – have almost exactly the same “friends”, and the same arguments, except maybe the Waarabu/Wazungu one – as do OBC.
Not long ago, Manyerere personally wrote, (or copy-pasted since he doesn’t really remember), “articles” claiming that OBC and Thomson Safaris would be the “good companies” in Loliondo. In his recent writings however, he complains that Thomson Safaris and &Beyond have conflicts with pastoralists, but are “never mentioned”. Read my blog then…
Manyerere claims that councillors and “Wazungu” want to start a Wildlife Management Area (WMA), for their personal benefit, after OBC is removed, not knowing that basically nobody in Loliondo, except Frankfurt Zoological Society and some people in TNRF, wants a WMA, which is an idea that Loliondo activists already stopped over a decade ago.
Manyerere mentions some organisations that have supported the Maasai of Loliondo, but somehow thinks it’s the whole Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF), when actually good, bad, ugly, and very ugly is found it that forum, like the Honeyguide Foundation that’s very close to the extremely unethical Thomson Safaris. I do hope that not any Loliondo NGOs are currently involved with that organisation.
Manyerere also claims that Friedkin would be interested in the Loliondo hunting block, without providing proof or explaining this interest, which I hope is baseless. Friedkin is actually the kind of company group that Manyerere would like, since it has been involved in humanrights abuse at Makao WMA, allegedly due to corruption returned after another company was chosen for the WMA, and its director in Tanzania, Michel Allard, supports the 1,500 km2 land grab threat in Loliondo. Manyerere is however more supportive of Friedkin’s business competitor, partly UAE-owned Green Mile Safaris, and his articles are mentioned by those defending this company, which became world infamous after a video of appalling hunting abuse emerged.
I’ve been asked to dedicate a paragraph to my interest in Loliondo, for those that haven’t followed my blog from the start, and since so many “fantasies” (to use kind word…) are circulating. I used to have a big interest in travel to East Africa, and in an online travel forum in 2008 I got involved in a discussion about Thomson Safaris’ land grab in Loliondo, because I hate injustice. A business associate and an employee defended the company aggressively and with obvious lies. A journalist looking into the issue got killed. I got in contact with a Tanzanian who had done some research. In 2009, another journalist was harassed, wrote an article, but didn’t follow up. When I, as a tourist in 2010, was asking some questions in Soitsambu, I also approached a government employee, and was thrown out of the country! Then I got in contact with many people in Loliondo, and started blogging. I had considered OBC an issue too big for a tourist, but since nobody was reporting accurately, I included OBC in my blog as well, and it has become the best online resource about investor-based land threats in Loliondo – much because nobody else even tries. Last year I was illegally arrested, and now authorities have gone to unprecedented extremes to silence me – so I will continue blogging.
There’s a lot more to say about the long and rambling “article”, but most sinister of all is Manyerere’s copy and paste of the horrible threat against the 1,500 km2 osero. A threat that was revoked in September 2013.
Please send me any information you may have.
My request for revocation of PI status.