MP urges govt to end persistent land conflicts between investor, villagers

Tuesday January 14 2014

By Mkinga Mkinga ,The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. The government has been asked to find a lasting solution to land-related disputes among Mbarali residents and an investor in the Kapunga Farm with recent reports showing that there is still a row between villagers and the management of the investment.

In her press statement yesterday, Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development shadow minister Halima Mdee said the government needed to ensure the disputed land benefited wananchi.

She said the Kapunga Farm dispute had been ongoing for many years as a result of implementing the investment and privatisation policy which did not consider the interests of the public.

“The government, through the minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Mr Christopher Chiza, made a commitment in Parliament in 2009 and 2011 that it would end the Kapunga farm conflict. It pledged that it will make sure the investor retains the piece of land he deserves and the rest will be returned to wananchi,” Ms Mdee said

Adding: “We want Professor Tibaijuka to tell Tanzanians that she has failed to solve citizen-related problems since such disputes have been causing deaths and the government has not shown its seriousness to end them.”

Last week it was reported that the government had ordered the investor in Kapunga Rice Farm in Mbeya Region to return 1,870 acres which are part of Kapunga Village to end the land dispute which has lasted for several years.

Advertisement

The minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Prof Anna Tibaijuka, said the investor should return the land ownership certificate and be issued with another after the farm is re-surveyed.

The villagers have been locked in the dispute with Kapunga Rice Project Limited over the latter’s plan to take the whole village land which is inhabited by at least 4,400 residents.

In a bid to resolve the dispute, Prof Tibaijuka convened a two-hour closed door meeting with village leaders.

The Kapunga village chairman, Mr John Nyoni, said that in 1995 villagers provided 5,500 hectares of land to the National Agricultural and Food Corporation (Nafco) for special rice production programme. The minister said the title deed showed that Nafco gave Kapunga Rice Project Limited 7,370 hectares of land that covered the whole village, instead of 5,500 hectares only.

“I have realised that Nafco made a mistake...this means that the investor has no problem.

His title deed shows clearly that he owns 7,370 hectares of land, which in that case is the whole village,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to asking the investor to hand over the title deed so that changes could be made.