Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bigwigs lose land as PM cracks the whip in Kagera



Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa. 

By Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTZ news@thecitizen.co.tz

Ngara. Former top government employees and institutions are at risk of losing huge chunks of land after Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa ordered revocation of ownership of 11 farms covering 7,700 acres in Ngara District, Kagera Region.

Some of the farms at Kasharazi and Rwakalemera villages didn’t have certificates of occupancy while others have been abandoned.

He gave the orders yesterday when addressing residents of Kasulo and Rwakalemera villages in Kasulo Ward, Ngara District, on his way to Geita Region.

The PM summoned Ngara District leadership to the meeting to respond to queries from wananchi who stopped his entourage.

He asked the District Land and Natural Resources officer, Ms Betty Munuo, to explain the source of land disputes in the two villages.

Ms Munuo, who was moved to the district in August last year, said she had identified names of the owners whom she planned to summon for clarifications.

He named owners of 18 farms, out of whom only seven possessed certificates of ownership while only three had been undertaking development.

The developed farms are used for farming, livestock keeping and schools and are owned by the Catholic Diocese of Rulenge (161 acres), Dario Zakaria (282) and daughters of St Francisco (759). Although the three farms are developed, the PM directed the land office to make a follow up to establish if proper procedures were used in acquiring them and whether they were paying taxes. Under the Village Land Act, the village assembly can only approve allocation of an area not exceeding 50 acres.

Four of the farms at Rwakalemera Village, Ms Munuo said, had been abandoned by their owners, namely Abdallah Sadala (521 acres), Mahsen Saidi (458 acres), Mshengezi Nyambele (388 acres) and (497 acres).

Mr Mshengezi is the first secretary with the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

Announcing his verdict, the PM started by naming owners of farms who didn’t have tittle deeds as Mr Joseph Rugumyamheto (505 acres) at Rwakalemera, Mr Nicolaus Kidenke whose farm’s size was not established, Mr Gwasa Sababili (236 acres) at Kasharazi Village and Mr Makumi Rufyega (500 acres) at Rwakalemera.

Other owners of farms at Rwakalemera were Paulo Shikiri (250 acres), Frank Derila (750 acres), Godfrey Kitanga (800), Philemon Mpanju (200 acres), Issa Sama (500 acres), Hekizayo Mtalitinya (225 acres) and Joel Nkinga (1,250 acres). The PM ordered that a census should be conducted to establish whether the owners of the farms were Tanzanians.

“For these farms with title deeds, I direct a review of their documents so as to establish the manner in which individuals or institutions secured ownership rights. The report should reach my office by March 20 (Saturday),” said the apparently upset PM.

Mr Majaliwa also ordered that former Lands officer for Ngara District, Mr Enock Mpozi, who has been transferred to Rorya District, must be recalled to his former duty station to help in investigations on land allocation. On his way to Ngara on Tuesday, the PM was stopped at Rwakalemera by wananchi who carried banners appealing to him to order the return of their village land.

In response to the query, the PM ordered the suspension of Ngara District Council director Colonel Ngudungi, who was earlier recalled to the district following his alleged involvement in the loss of funds obtained through the sales of timber from the Rumasi Forest.

Meanwhile in Dar es Salaam, the parliamentary committee on Lands and Natural Resources and Tourism yesterday took a swipe at the Lands ministry for failing to come up with comprehensive mechanisms of managing land that would help end conflicts that have for years been costing lives in the country.

Officials from the Lands ministry had a tough time responding to various questions that were raised by members of the committee who demanded to know why there was no end in sight to land conflicts in the country.

The committee accused the government of failing to survey land. Out of more than 10,000 villages, only about 1,200 villages have been surveyed and only a handful has good land use plans.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Mr Yamungu Kayandabila, said ending the land conflicts was an uphill task, noting that there were plans to establish land banks for compensation, but it was being hindered by lack of budgetary support.

“We were planning to have at least 200,000 hectares for compensation but we have no funds… during the last financial year, for instance, we allocated Sh5 billion which has, however, not been released to date,” he said.

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