Showing posts with label Soitsambu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soitsambu. Show all posts

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.