Government defends Loliondo demarcation, Ngorongoro relocations

The minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Pindi Chana speaking in past event. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Population explosion in Ngorongoro is considered a threat to conservation even as they have been living with wild animals for many decades

Dar es Salaam. The government yesterday stressed  five reasons it found necessary to relocate the Ngorongoro Conservation Area residents as well as demarcate the Loliondo Game Reserve, an exercise that has sparked confusion among various groups.
In a Zoom meeting involving development partners and government officials organised by Watch Tanzania Institute, the government said that protecting national heritage, water sources, and avoiding the effects of proximity to wild animals and people as reasons for the exercise.
Other reasons cited were to give people the freedom to engage in various activities including agriculture, a larger area for their livestock without restrictions because they could not do such activities in protected areas like Ngorongoro and also it was implementation of government proclamation of  Pololeti Game Reserve.
The minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Pindi Chana said, in order to protect the heritage of Tanzania and the world at large, her ministry began to implement various measures including relocation of people and their increasing livestock.
She noted that according to the 2021 report, the population of people had reached 110,000 people, 850,000 goats and 224,000 cattle, which she said prompted the ministry to also start the process of reviewing the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) law.
“The reality is that the population is growing, livestock increasing and we have witnessed how the wild animals have been affecting them. Wee can’t let this trend to continue” She said. On human rights, which has been the voice of various activists, Dr Chana said the people living in Ngorongoro have the right to have decent homes and access to agricultural land, which they cannot now afford because they cannot own land or engage in agricultural activities at the conservation area as it will be a breach of conservation laws. “Our government is now giving its people a good location at Msomera village in Tanga Region. Therefore, those who relocate voluntarily will have the right to be provided with housing, agricultural land, livestock areas and also the infrastructure continues to be improved,” she said.
As of yesterday,  21 households with a population of 106 people and at least 411 livestock had been received in Handeni from Ngorongoro and more than 290 households have registered and will be relocated as the exercise progresses.
“It is not possible in 2022 to just let people live with wild animals because we already know the consequences. What will the situation will be in 10 or 20 years later? These are questions that we must ask ourselves,” she cautioned.
Regarding the placement of beacons in Loliondo Game Reserve, classifying a 1,500 square kilometre reserve, Dr Chana said it was in accordance with government Proclamation No. 421 of June 17, 2022 that declared Pololeti Game Reserve (new name) which defines the boundaries of the protected area by placing beacons and coordinates. “Until yesterday (Tuesday) evening we placed 424 beacons of which 422 were completed while two were already on our border with Kenya. So the exercise of placing beacons for this reserve has been completed,” she said.
She reminded that there are still 2500 square kilometers for citizens to use as their homes and daily activities.
Dr Abdulla Makame, the chairperson of the East African Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Agriculture and Environment, said the Loliondo constituency from the beginning was intended by the government to be preserved and said that if the area was not protected as required, other dependent reserves would die.
“Basically the government has now taken deliberate steps after realizing that the management that was supposed to exist from the beginning was not in the required attention,” he said.
“We must now come up with a specific strategy that will help avoid these conflicts in the future, the protected areas should be known, agricultural and residential as well so that people do not invade areas that do not belong to them. This will help develop the land we have,” he added.