Shifting errant land officials no solution

Monday May 20 2019



Lands Minister William Lukuvi

Lands Minister William Lukuvi 

It is unfortunate that Tanzania continues to brazenly suffer from land disputes. Despite political statements and various policy measures land conflicts have persisted in the country. These include land ownership disputes, conflict of interests involving crop farmers and pastoralists, traditional land owners and prospective investors, development planners in government and its related institutions versus holders of land plots.

Different studies have shown that land so pervasively underpins human activity that it usually plays roles which are so crucial that it almost invariably figures into many violent disputes worldwide.

It is interesting to note that many of the disputes are rooted in land scarcity, or skewed distribution and allocation of the precious resource among different stakeholders, both extant and prospective.

But judging by many standards Tanzania has no shortage of land to speak of. Some 885,800 square kilometres (342,007 square miles) of the country’s total area of 947,300 square kilometres (365,753 square miles) is land, terra firma, as distinct from water bodies and the atmosphere. This being the case on the ground, there is no earthly reason why Tanzania should suffer land conflicts. Yet, principal government officials have constantly been embroiled in land conflicts-solving.

But, clearly, this has been of little or no avail with nary a lasting solution found. As reported in The Citizen yesterday, Lands Minister William Lukuvi directed the transfer or reassignment of staff dealing with land issues in Morogoro Region to other duties.

After receiving a barrage of complaints on land issues from his audience last Friday, the minister decided that removing the local land officials would resolve matters.

This has never worked in the past, as transferring or reassigning errant workers amounts to shifting the errancy/problem bag and baggage to other locations – thus perpetuating rather than solving the problem once and for all.