No Maasai! No Tourism
After recently being threatened with evictions, the Maasai in Northern Tanzania have been assured of Government Protection
The Maasai, who happen to be East Africa’s most popular residents, have been described to be an important component in the Tanzanian tourism industry.
Speaking at the height of ongoing controvery surrounding the nomadic pastoralists in Ngorongoro District, the country’s Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa pointed out that, their ability to harmoniously co-exist with wildlife is one of the most astounding things.
“In fact, it is the most outstanding factor which keeps driving foreign visitors to Tanzania,” Premier Majaliwa stated during a special meeting with residents of Loliondo Game Controlled Area, one of the contested precincts as far as land grabbing issues are concerned.
According to the Prime Minister, the government will do everything to ensure that peace reigns in all areas surrounding Game Reserves, National Parks and Conservation Areas, without disturbing local residents.
He however insisted that, ecological balance in reserved areas should be maintained for mutual benefits.
Recently, there have been some misguided speculations claiming that the Tanzania fovernment was intending to evict the Maasai pastoralists from their ancestoral lands in Ngorongoro District.
But the Prime Minister who visited one of the divisions, dismissed the claims saying they were being mongered by groups of hooligans with personal interests, planning to cash from such conflicts.
Following directives from President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the Premier is arranging public dialogue with residents of all Ngorongoro Divisions, including Sale, Loliondo and Ngorongoro, to come up with the ultimate solution.
A certain circular which started going round last December, indicated tentative dates for removal of Maasai Residents from Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a multiple land use, which is one of the seven world heritage sites in Tanzania.
Later, a team of six journalists who went round to cover a communal meeting of the Maasai in Ngorongoro were arrested, allegedly on orders from the Conservation Area’s management.
Shortly after another team of reporters were seen recording video clips and posting them online insulting the Maasai existence in Ngorongoro and from that time. all hell broke loose.
While there have been claims of environment destructions, experts point out that Ngorongoro is the only area where poaching incidences have been brought down to nil.
Plus, it is the destination which yields the highest revenues, banking at 160 billion/- in prime time.
Chairperson of the Ngorongoro Pastoralists Council, Edward Maura, said in a recent press briefing that, some people were investing money to oust native residents from the area, under dubious schemes.
Expert scholar on matters of land, Prof Issa Shivji warned against tampering with the Maasai landrights.
Political parties such as ACT have also condemned the move targeting the Maasai due to their indigenious ways of life.
The Nilotic Pastoralists striding the Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania parts are the best known people around the globe due to their residence near the many game parks and reserves and also theire adherence to culture andtraditional ways of life including their distinctive customs and dress.
International communities also recognize them for being great environment conservationists because they have been safeguarding natural vegetation and wildlife since time in memorial.