Loliondo. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday allayed eviction fears among pastoralists who have been co-existing with wild animals in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) for a long time.
He said that their presence in the NCA would be decided at upon completion of collection of stakeholders’ opinion and respective analyses of proposals advanced by various interested groups.
Mr Majaliwa said though the pastoral community has the right to utilize land in any part of the country, it was up to the country to decide – in an win-win situation - the best way to utilize every tract of Tanzania’s land.
Earlier, members of the pastoral community told Mr Majaliwa that disseminated information on social media threatened most of members, forcing some of them to abandon their homes and sought refuge in the bushes.
Addressing the pastoral community carrying their activities at the NCA during the stakeholders’ opinion collection for NCA sustainable conservation, Mr Majaliwa said during the opinion collection process he would meet all groups with interests on the subject matter.
He said both President Samia Suluhu Hassan and the Parliament have issued instructions for the government to collect opinions from stakeholders in order to amicably resolve endless problems facing the conservation authority and pastoralists in the NCA.
“The decision comes due to failure to implement recommendations of the team I formed in 2017/18. This time after collecting opinion from this meeting, I will meet other stakeholders in Ngorongoro and Sare,” he said.
“Members of Parliament (MPs) and the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Tourism will be scheduled to visit the area too. Other stakeholders including journalists and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working with the government will also be involved in the process before a final decision is reached.”
Recognizing a commendable conservation job done by the pastoral community in the NCA, Mr Majaliwa said there was a serious concern that co-existence adversely impacted the wildlife migration process that significantly attracts visitors in the tourist attraction.
Mr Majaliwa, who doubles as Ruangwa Constituency MP, said increased population of members of the pastoral community from 8,000 in 1958 to over 110,000 recently was another issue of concern.
According to him, the major concern among experts and other stakeholders was that the number of livestock kept by the pastoral community in the NCA had significantly increased and in the process, posing a serious challenge to sustainability of NCA, wildlife and tourism.
“Basing on these challenges, the country should reach a time that we should make a choice between what was important between livestock and tourism attraction through which the government earns billion of shillings used to facilitate development of other sectors and provision of social services,” he said.
He said the Parliament advised the government following its debate in Parliament that focused the prosperity of the country’s tourism including issues of increased population and the number of livestock on NCA.
He instructed the minister for Livestock and Fisheries Mashimba Ndaki as well as the ministry’s experts to study and advice the government over claims of increasing sheep population in the NCA, theus causing environment impacts to growth and prosperity of grasses.
According to him, the MPs also saw a video clip showing a new species of sheep that are now kept in the country, instructing the respective ministry and experts to investigate and advice the government.
“The MPs also sought to ensure the pastoral community are not left behind as among beneficiaries of technology development through improving their housing and start efficient livestock keeping that would also benefit livestock products processing in the country,” he said.
The Ngorongoro Constituency MP, Mr Emmanuel Oleshangai, said conserving the intended 1,500 square kilometres would leave the 75,000 strong human population, 95 percent of whom are livestockeepers, with no land for their linvelihood purposes.
“Residents of the district have asked the government to use the said land as the grazing zone that would be free from residential buildings and other facilities that would destruct wild animals,” he said, calling the government to end the dispute that existed for over 30 years.
He faulted those with the idea of retaining animals that seasonally migrate to Kenya saying it was difficult to oppose the natural ecosystem.
Members of the pastoral community asked the government to drop eviction idea, promising to continue conserving the area and live with harmony with wildlife.