What you need to know:
- Videos and images circulated via social media showed scenes of a Maasai community gathering to protest against the police who were reportedly sent to provide security in the planned land demarcation in the area.
Dar es Salaam. Controversy emerged yesterday after reports of violence in Loliondo, over land saga.
Videos and images circulated via social media showed scenes of a Maasai community gathering to protest against the police who were reportedly sent to provide security in the planned land demarcation in the area.
Other images showed injured residents with some activists accusing the security officials of firing at indigenous people.
However, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday said there was no such chaos, trashing accusations of police involvement in the matter.
Mr Majaliwa said the government was planting beacons to demarcate the 1,500 square kilomtre conservation area in Loliondo from the part allocated for human activities.
“What exactly happened is that government vehicles moved through some villages in Loliondo as they went to place the beacons. Then some residents, who were not aware of that move, gathered to discuss the issue,” said Mr Majaliwa who was issuing government statement after circulation of the videos.
“During their meeting, some people protested, thinking that they were going to be evicted. After getting correct information from their elders and government officials, they all disbursed and the situation returned to normal until this morning,” he said.
He assured that no one would be evicted from Loliondo, maintaining that the government was just demarcating the areas.
Loliondo has an estimated 4,000 square kilometres with 1,500 of them allocated for conservation while the rest is for human activities.
The conservation area is an important source of water that flows through Serengeti and is the wildebeest breeding ground.
Mr Majaliwa also accused activists of providing “misleading information” about Maasai issues in Loliondo. He said the video was recorded and circulated by a person who wanted to “paint a bad image of the government.”
“There are institutions registered by the government for conservation activities but their job has been to mislead and incite conflict between residents and the government,” he said, warning that the government was watching them.
The activists have been against eviction of the Maasai from the land, accusing the government of violating human rights and planning eviction.
The PM allayed the fears of eviction in Loliondo, adding that the government was putting up infrastructure for water supply and other development activities.
Speaker of the National Assembly Tulia Ackson asked the government to take action against those who “mislead” accusing them of being used to sabotage Tanzania in its economic efforts.
“The government can start with the person who recorded and circulate the video,” she said.