Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CCM joins fray in Loliondo herders' conflict

 

By Moses Mashalla @TheCitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

The ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) officials in Ngorongoro district, Arusha region have joined the fray over human rights violation allegations against nomadic pastoralists.

Contrary to the views of the government officials, some livestock keepers in Loliondo area have been subjected to alleged harrassment by game wardens with the Serengeti National Park (Senapa).

"Violation of human rights through beating of cattle keepers and seizure of their animals should be condemned", the said when reacting to recent developments of the decades-long conflict in the area.

The ruling party defended the Ngorongoro pastoralists, saying they were not against the tourism investors and the conservation agencies but were against arbitrary arrests and seizure of their livestock.

The district CCM chairman Ndirango Senge said the high handedness exhibited by some Senapa game rangers against the seizure of livestock herds outside the national park.

However, this has been denied by the chief park warden William Mwakilema who said no domestic animals have been confiscated grazing outside the boundaries of the protected area.

Mr Senge added that it was a distortion of facts that the cattle seized in the area for alleged grazing inside the protected areas belonged to Kenyan pastoralists.

"This is a ploy to distort the facts", he told a public meeting held at Losoito village, adding that the Maasai pastoralists were in full support of conservation programmes contrary to the thinking of some people.

 

On his part, the chairman of the ruling party's youth wing UVCCM,Lobikiek Mollel said most of the victims of the crackdown by the security forces in Loliondo were youths looking after cattle.

The position of CCM local leaders in the simmering conflict came shortly after residents of various villages alleged the park wardens were confiscating livestock grazing outside the national park.

Residents of Ololosokwan, Soitsambu and Kirtalo wards alleged that some of the livestock seized were not found grazing inside the park.

"They were found in the village land and driven into the park and later confiscated by the authorities to appear that its owners were to blame", they told reporters last week.

They aired their complaints during a public meeting held at Ololosokwan village which was attended by the local leaders and a team of journalists from Arusha.

The crackdown by Senapa game wardens in collaboration with the police started in August this year following allegations that some livestock keepers from the adjacent Loliondo division grazed their animals illegally in the protected area.

During a subsequent eviction carried out in August and September this year by the security forces against pastoralists alleged to have settled illegally inside or on the fringes of the park, some 463 homes were torched.

Over a thousand of  cattle heads were seized of which 300 died for lack of pastures and water, 618 taken over and auctioned by the government and 590 still detained at the holding grounds.

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