Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority denounces misinformation campaigns on Maasai resettlement

Members of the Maasai community, residing within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, during their traditional cultural festival. PHOTO|COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The acting NCAA Public Relations Manager Hamis Dambaya refuted claims from certain institutions that the Maasai were being evicted, describing the reports as untrue.

Ngorongoro. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has denounced foreign institutions and non-governmental organizations for spreading misinformation regarding the resettlement of residents from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Msomera village in Tanga.

Speaking during a traditional cultural festival held by the Maasai community residing within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area over the weekend the acting NCAA Public Relations Manager, Hamis Dambaya, refuted claims from certain institutions that the Maasai were being evicted, describing the reports as untrue.

The festival, attended by various individuals including authority employees, highlighted the cooperative relationship between the Maasai community and the NCAA.

The theme of the festival was on joint efforts in facilitating a voluntary resettlement education campaign without encountering opposition.

"These events serve as a platform for educating the public, both collectively and individually, and send a strong message to international organizations alleging forced evictions of the Maasai from their land," said Mr Dambaya.

During the festival, the NCAA also informed attendees about the government's social services in Msomera Village, which are reported to fare better than those available within the conservation area.

 Some residents expressed readiness to join peers who had relocated earlier.

The statement by the Acting Public Relations Manager aimed to counter international institutions such as the Maasai International Solidarity Alliance (MISA), the Human Rights Advocacy Unit of the University of Pretoria, and Africa Intelligence Magazine.

These entities recently reported alleged forcible evictions of the Maasai, citing coercion and violence in the resettlement process, leading to international concern and criticism regarding the treatment of indigenous communities in Tanzania.

In contrast, the NCAA maintains that the resettlement process is peaceful and voluntary, aimed at improving the living conditions of the Maasai people.

Dambaya dismissed the allegations as gross misinformation, emphasizing that the Maasai have historically moved freely across Tanzania without coercion or harassment.

"In Tanzania, the Maasai community is not troubled or forcibly removed from any location, as evidenced by their presence across the mainland and in the islands. Claims of forced relocation by external organizations may be influenced by actors from other parts of the world, but those familiar with Tanzania know the truth," asserted Dambaya.

During the festival held within the Ngorongoro Crater, young Maasai, led by elders, performed traditional rituals, affirming that such cultural activities could continue unabated even with resettlement.

Visitors to the crater witnessed the vibrant participation of the Maasai community in these festivities.

The NCAA claims that certain international human rights organizations continue to disseminate misinformation about the voluntary resettlement of Ngorongoro Conservation Area residents to Msomera.

They allege that these organizations often rely on selective information from individuals who benefit financially through advocacy in non-governmental organizations supposedly defending human rights.