The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Loliondo Villagers’ eviction case for hearing from May 2023

The case on the legal appeal filed by villagers from Ololosokwan and other councils in Loliondo, against the Government of Tanzania is expected to come up for hearing from May 2023 onwards.

The residents in the contested former Game Controlled Area whose land was recently annexed to form a new Game Reserve filed an appeal at the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, against the eviction order which saw them forced out of what they described to be their customary land.

Handling the legal matter, are the five judges of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), led by the President of the Court, Nestory Kayobera.

Others in the panel include the Vice President, Ms Sauda Mjasiri, and Justices Anita Mugeni, Kathurima M’Inoti and Cheborion Barishaki.

During the EACJ initial sitting to discuss the villagers’ appeal the court requested that the advocates for the applicants submit their written grounds for the appeal by March 6, 2023.

The Regional Court also directed the office of the Attorney General to respond to their submission within 30 days, which should be sometime around April 5, 2023.

On the other hand the applicants will again have to file their rejoinder to the appeal by April 19, 2023.

The court will then announce the dates for hearing of the high-profile appeal, with each side given 30 minutes.

Villagers from Loliondo whose case was previously dismissed by the East African Court, argue that the first division did not take into consideration issues of breach of human rights during their un-ceremonial evictions.

The Applicants are being represented by the panel of advocates from Pan African Lawyers Union led by the PALU Chief Executive Officer Donald Deya.

The other two counsels for the Appellants are Advocates Joseph Oleshangay, Esther Muigai-Mnaro, Praisegod Joseph and Jebra Kambole.

Filed at East African Court of Justice (EACJ), Appellate Division the Appeal No. 13 of 2022 is pitting the Ololosokwan Village Council and three other groups against the Attorney General of the United Republic of Tanzania

The Counsel for the Respondent includes Senior State Attorneys Vivian Method and Narindwa Sekimanga.

Court clerks in the EACJ Appellate Division in attendance were Michael Mkala Maghanga and Juma Fikirini.

Previously, on September 30, 2022, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) delivered the Judgment on the case pitting Oloosokwan Village council and others versus the Attorney General of Tanzania.

The matter with Reference No. 10 of 2017 was initially filed on September 21, 2017 by Ololosakwan Village Council and three Others (Applicants) against the Respondent, in this case the Attorney General of Tanzania.

The Applicant was represented by a team of lawyers from the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) led by Don Deya (Lead Counsel) the Tanzanian human rights lawyers Jebra Kambole and Yonas Laiser.

In its Decision, the Court has dismissed the claims of the Applicants.

PALU immediately lodged an Appeal at the Appellate Division of the East African Court.

In the latest development PALU implores the Tanzanian government to reverse its Government Notice No. 281, signed on 10 June 2022 by Pindi Chana, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, and published on 17th June 2022.

The notice, according to the Lawyers, illegally declares 1,502 square kilometers of Village Land as ‘Pololeti Game Controlled Area.’

PALU asserts that the declaration was made as a means of taking away land belonging to local villages.

These include Ololosokwan, Kirtalo, Oloipiri, Lopolun, Orkuyainie, Oldoinyowas, Loosoito, Arash, Ormanie, Oloiswashi, Enkobereti, Olalaa, Kipambi, Ololosokwan villages, as well as Piyaya and Malambo village lands.

They were allegedly taken without following the mandatory procedures of the Tanzanian Land Act.

According to the Pan-African Lawyers Union it also goes against the Village Land Act and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Together with other human rights advocates representing community members in the villages on 16th August 2022 filed a second case challenging the declaration at the EACJ.

The Reference has been served to the Respondent on 18 August 2022

The Court says it has jurisdiction over the matter and the case is admissible (including on having been filed within time, and that there is NO requirement to exhaust local remedies by going to Courts of the Respondent State that deal with land matters).

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