Dar es Salaam. Natural Resources and Tourism deputy minister Japhet Hasunga has directed staff at the ministry and other institutions falling under his docket to involve regional and district leaders when resolving disputes between villagers and game reserves.
“All staff of this ministry are not allowed to go to protected areas and try to resolve conflicts involving neighbouring communities without devising clear plans with regional and district leaders,” he said.
The deputy minister made the statement during a meeting held in Manyara Region before welcoming Land, Housing and Human Settlements minister William Lukuvi to launch the implementation of the land management programme in the villages bordering the conservation areas.
The programme is jointly implemented by the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) and National Land Use Planning Commission (NLUPC).
According to Mr Hasunga, the programme, which aims at resolving land conflicts, will be implemented in Manyara, Dodoma, Mara, Arusha and Simiyu regions whose several villages border the protected areas.
Mr Hasunga named the regions that will benefit from the programme in the first phase as Manyara, Arusha and Mara. Combined, the regions have a total of 95 villages out of 392 that border the protected areas.
For his part, Mr Lukuvi said the land use planning move was important in ending the land disputes between the villagers and conservation areas authorities.
He said the ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism had done well to involve his ministry because in the past it was rocked by endless because of lack of clear demarcations.
The representative of the Tanapa director general, Mr Martin Leibook, explained that the launch of the new programmme would help end protracted land conflicts between conservationists and surrounding communities.