Tanzanian gov’t taken to East African Court over land disputes

DAR ES SALAAM, Oct. 5 — Four villages in Ngorongoro district in
Tanzania’s Arusha region have taken the Tanzanian government to the East
African Court of Justice (EACJ) over longstanding, unresolved land
disputes, a suit filed in the court said on Tuesday.

The suit said four villages of Ololosokwan, Olorien, Kirtalo and Arash have
filed the case alleging that their eviction from their ancestral land was
against the law. The villagers alleged that torching of their houses,
arbitrary arrests and forced eviction from their dwelling areas were
against the law as their villages were officially registered. According to
a EACJ court clerk Boniface Ogutu, the complainants want the eviction order
against them stopped until their main case was determined. The villagers
further alleged that the government was wrong in revoking land ownership
from the four villages and that it also wrongly changed the land use of the
said areas.

Ngorongoro district, particularly the Loliondo division, has been the
center of land disputes from the 1990s pitting the nomadic pastoralists and
the conservation agencies and the foreign investors. At some point, the
villagers have alleged their grazing land had been annexed by the
government into game protected areas. Accusing fingers have also often been
pointed at some foreign tourist hunting companies. Only recently, agitated
livestock keepers from Arusha region’s remote villages pleaded before
President John Magufuli to intervene after their endless pleas had been
downplayed by other officials. – XINHUA