Tanzania: Land grabbing, including for private investment, continues to threaten livelihoods of indigenous Maasai

Author: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (Denmark), Published on: 24 May 2018

"Half a million of indigenous peoples' livelihoods threatened in Tanzania"

In most countries, the indigenous peoples are facing threats from governments that want to initiate huge infrastructure projects on their land, from private companies that want to expand their search for natural resources and from national park authorities that want to expand buffer zones for national parks and their wildlife. While Tanzania’s indigenous peoples face all these threats, the Maasai peoples are especially experiencing that their land is confiscated in the name of conservation...The most known indigenous peoples group in Tanzania is the Maasai with a population estimate of 430.000 and many Maasai’s are dependent of their livestock for survival. These pastoralist communities depend on their land to grass their animals as their families have done it for generations.

...Tanzania’s government continues to ignore the Maasai’s rights to their land. the 2018 edition of “The Indigenous World” reveals many cases where the government’s concern for conserving the remaining nature and generate incomes from tourists often is put above the concern for the Maasai’s livelihood, despite the fact that several published reports find that granting land rights to indigenous peoples often is the best way to conserve the nature...

On the 5th of August 2017, the conflict escalated when Ngorongoro District Commissioner (DC), Mr. Rashid M. Taka, issued an order to relevant authorities that within five days they should remove all livestock from the so-called Serengeti National Park buffer zones, despite the Maasai villages’ legal claims to the area. After five days, law enforcers and special guards had burned down hundreds of houses and left more than 350 people homeless, many of whom were left to food insecurity, harassment and arbitrary arrest.

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