World

Campaign lobbies Tanzania President Hassan to protect 70,000 Maasai from resettlement

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

  • Tanzania is set to relocate 70,000 Maasai pastoralists to make way for trophy hunting and elite tourism.
  • The country’s president received a petition last week from the EU-AU summit.
  • Activists say the government is intimidating people and claims the move is for the greater interest of Tanzania.

A petition to stop the forced resettlement of more than 70,000 Maasai people from northern Tanzania was handed over to the country’s president on the sidelines of the recently concluded European Union-African Union summit in Brussels, Belgium. .

The petition, which was signed by 2.7 million on Friday last week, was handed over to the senior staff of President Samia Suluhu Hassan by Avaaz, a US-based online activist network.

READ | The Maasai of Tanzania are expanding in favor of tourism, the group says

In an interview with News24, Sarah Morrison, Avaaz’s campaign director, said they intended to draw the president’s attention and show their international solidarity against the government’s intentions to resettle the Maasai people.

“We hope that by standing in solidarity with the Maasai of northern Tanzania, we will strengthen their call and raise awareness of the threats they face. We also hope that when the President sees the global community behind this call. “mobilizes, she will advance the rights of their people, and resist any attempt to expel them from their ancestral lands,” she said.

On January 21, the Tanzanian government announced plans to expel 70,000 Maasai people from its 1,500 km2 ancestral lands in Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Loliondo in the Arusha region.

The government plans to lease the land to a company based in the United Arab Emirates that will create a wildlife corridor for trophy hunting and elite tourism.

The government’s renewed decision seeks to overturn a 2018 East African Court of Justice (EACJ) ruling that stopped the government from driving 1,500km of Maasai communities2 of ancestral, legally registered land.

Morrison said this was the second time her organization had worked to defend the Maasai people.

She said:

In 2013, we were working with Maasai elders from the Ngorongoro district when they faced similar threats of eviction. We launched our online campaign and, as it grew, the then president promised that they would never be expelled from their ancestral lands.

“And so, last week, when the Maasai community got in touch with us again and told us about the raging threats of eviction, we did what we believe is right: stand with indigenous people and mobilize to protect their rights. .

“After working with Maasai communities throughout East Africa, we understand the vital role they play in stewarding conservation efforts. We believe that conservation efforts should advance indigenous peoples and protect their rights,” he said. se.

Joseph Moses Oleshangay, of the Legal and Human Rights Center in Tanzania, said the government intimidated people and also claimed that the resettlement was in the public interest.

He said:

In 2013, we were working with Maasai elders from the Ngorongoro district when they faced similar threats of eviction. We launched our online campaign and, as it grew, the then president promised that they would never be expelled from their ancestral lands.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area was established by law in 1959 as a multiple agricultural area for both Maasai pastoralism and wildlife conservation.

Loliondo, which has an area of ​​about 4,000 km2was designated Game Control Area in 1955, a form of wildlife management that enables coexistence between humans and wildlife.

The Maasai people, who largely occupied both the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Loliondo, are the same community that was forced out of what is now the Serengeti National Park in 1958 by the then colonial government.

Given a historical context, Oleshangay said until the late 1970s that there were plans to put Maasai pastoralists from Ngorongoro Conservation first on claims to ecological carrying capacity. This has since changed to threaten the wildlife and tourism industry.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained therein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.


Did you know that you can listen to articles? Subscribe to News24 for access to this exciting feature and more.

Campaign lobbies Tanzania President Hassan to protect 70,000 Maasai from resettlement

Source link Campaign lobbies Tanzania President Hassan to protect 70,000 Maasai from resettlement

Back to top button