Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The Beacons from Hell

The most recent efforts by the Tanzanian government to grab a “corridor” of land from the people of Loliondo

The threat of a corridor of extension of Serengeti National Park onto village land in Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District has again reared its ugly head. On 20th November 2012 villagers from Ololosokwan went to Klein’s Gate and it was established that Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) were planning to put border beacons – that had been brought and were being stored - far inside land belonging to the village. They already tried this in 2008 and then the beacons were destroyed by angry villagers, some of whom were arrested for a few hours until fellow villagers forced their release. Through the years TANAPA have tried many bad tricks and then there have been times of uneventful coexistence. Similar attempts at expanding borders are going on around most protected areas in Tanzania.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Article about Loliondo land threats on Just Conservation’s website

On 2nd December Just Conservation – a network that’s an open space for all who care about the conservation of our world and who want to see it achieved with justice, compassion, dignity and honesty – published an article I had written as a short overview of land grabs in Loliondo.

Here is the link:

I’ll very soon publish a post about the current crisis caused by the government moving forward with the plans of grabbing a corridor of Loliondo land next to Serengeti National Park, and before the end of the year I have to post an update about Thomson Safaris and some other issues.

Odupoi Ndekerei  - one of the three young boys who in August were beaten at Thomson’s camp and arrested for “trespassing” and whose court case was dismissed since the prosecution did not show up and there was no supporting evidence - was yesterday again arrested by Thomson’s guard for “trespassing” and grazing cattle on the grabbed land. Today he remains at Loliondo police station without legal representation.

Thomson Safaris are also moving on with the absurd court case against five young herders that were arrested and humiliated in July. The main hearing is on the 14th December. It’s the abused people that should sue Thomson! Though I suppose there aren’t resources for this. At least the land case is continuing.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Negotiations – Another Update on Thomson Safaris’ Land Grab in Loliondo

I have got some information from Loliondo that I’ve tried to check with different sources and would like to share here on my blog.

Let’s start with the rare good news: the appeal was successful! On 31 May 2011 the case against Tanzania Conservation Ltd (Thomson Safaris) and Tanzania Breweries Ltd was dismissed on a preliminary objection. The objection was that it’s exactly the same case as in the late 80s, which is not correct. An appeal was sought and in May 2012 it was granted. Now there will be a full trial in the high court. The court case moves slowly delaying the deliverance of justice. I’m worried, but it seems people closer to the happenings seem confident that justice will prevail and the land will be returned to the community.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Revisiting Loliondo – a Safari Report

In early 2010 I visited Loliondo in Tanzania where I as a tourist wanted to ask some questions about the case of Boston-based Thomson Safaris establishing their private “Enashiva Nature Refuge” on Maasai grazing land and presenting it as a shining example of “community empowerment”. This led to an amazing overreaction that a clearly illustrated how Tanzanian authorities favour the interests of “investors” over those of the customary landowners when the Ngorongoro District Commissioner confiscated my passport and sent me to Arusha where I was declared a “prohibited immigrant” and thrown out of the country.
I’ve written about this HERE.

Towards the end of September 2011 my return was long overdue and I got a ticket for Nairobi. I had high expectations of, without getting into too much danger, talking with a wide selection of people who could share information about Thomson Safaris and also Otterlo Business Corporation, but these expectations were only partially fulfilled.