Monday, 13 April 2015

Betrayal and Abuse Continue in Loliondo

Nothing was done about the human rights abuse of February.
The RC came.
Kidupo kept getting worse.
A surveying team came and left.
Channel 10 attacked again.
Then Kenyans and those “helping Kenyans” were attacked.

Updates on the human rights abuse in February
The people whose houses were burned 10th-14th February did, according to reports I've got, not get any help.

On 18th February the RC visited Njoroi village to examine the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania, but did not find anything of urgency, and later he flew over the national park boundary to examine the recent evictions. Then at a meeting in Ololosokwan citizenship and Kenyans were on the agenda, and so was the border with the national park. The RC declared that Ololosokwan’s boundaries were safe as village land, and urged people to disregard ideas that they would be Kenyans.

Also on 18th February many new DC’s were announced around the country.  Elias Wawa Lali – who was one of those “inspiring” the creation of this blog - retired and the new DC for Ngorongoro is Hashim S. Mgandilwa about whom nobody knew anything at all, except that he’s young and from Mbeya. At least he does not seem to have a “military background” as was the somewhat demented wish expressed by MP Telele to media.

On the 19th the RC held a meeting in Irmolelian (Arash) with the people whose houses had been burned by Serengeti National Park Rangers and police. His message was:
1. People are living inside the park and must leave within 14 days.
2. The government will provide tents.
3. NGOs that are believed to have brought journalists and incitement will be dealt with.
Some reports said that people moved out into nearby areas for some time.

On the 22nd a meeting was held between Arash, and the three wards under “investor-friendly”* leadership: Maaloni (that also was affected by burnings) Olorien and Oloipiri. It was agreed that a delegation should be sent to the RC to tell him that there was a need for the parties to verify the boundaries.

The following days researchers found that the bomas had been inside the park according to the boundaries marked by hills, as described in a schedule in the National Parks Ordinance 1959 (and also in Government Notice 1968). Though most of them would be outside the park according to an unidentified boundary marked by stone piles, and it has to be found out what that boundary is.

Some strange articles circulated saying that bomas would have been burned in Ololosokwan, that there was an eviction notice for the 1,500 km2 and other information that wasn't true at all.

There was no free prior informed consent in 1958/1959 when 12 illiterate leaders are supposed to have “agreed” to leave the Serengeti. And burning people’s houses is human rights abuse.

The Sorry Story of the Bought NGO Kidupo Continued
Since over a decade the Norwegian Sami organization Mama Sara – initially as a private initiative by Gunhild Berit Sara Buljo (known as Mama Sara in Loliondo) friends and family - has been working with the Laitayok-based NGO Kidupo in supporting school children and building the Lopolun Primary School. Mama Sara had already had serious problems with the investor-friendly councillor for Oloipiri, William Alais, because of misappropriation of funds and efforts to link-up the organization with the unethical “investor” Thomson Safaris, which would be unthinkable for an organization working for solidarity between indigenous peoples. Mama Sara got assurances from Kidupo that Alais was no longer involved in its projects, but it’s unclear if he really was removed.

Then in October 2014 it was reported that Kidupo’s director Gabriel Killel was included in a delegation to Dodoma in support of Thomson. This delegation was a response by Thomson’s extremely aggressive propaganda machinery to a protest delegation that went to Dodoma after Olunjai Timan in July 2014 was shot by a policeman working for the land grabber. Killel has been widely known to in meeting always be speaking up against the likes of Thomson and OBC, so this was something of a shock. At first he aggressively denied having gone to Dodoma and started threatening those that he suspected of having informed this blogger.

There were more and more reports of OBC and Thomson vehicles outside the Kidupo office. In January 2015 Gabriel Killel participated in a TV programme on Channel 10 that could only have been produced by OBC themselves. He figured as the “good” NGO that unlike others does not incite against the “good” investor OBC.

The Mama Sara organisation had no choice but to break all contact with this deeply corrupted and very harmful Kidupo leadership. This lead to Killel, together with Kidupo’s new senior technical adviser, William Telele, son of the increasingly “investor-friendly”* MP,  to proclaim that Mama Sara had abandoned the school children.

Kidupo has got an interim board of trustees allegedly put together with the support of Thomson’s Happiness Mwamasika.

Killel kept showing up at different meetings screaming against those that are trying to prevent him and his gang from benefitting from the “investors”. He also made many phone calls and sent out crazed letters - and it’s widely believed that he’s insane. There are recordings.

A Kidupo source is reported to have said that the NGO will have a hefty sum of money from Thomson Safaris. This source has also claimed that the Honeyguide Foundation, an organisation close to Thomson and always ready to support tourism players endangering Maasai land rights, will also contribute to the NGO. The contribution by OBC is not clear, but the Kidupo director totally discrediting himself on national television expressing support for the UAE hunters can hardly come cheap.

In February the director of the Mama Sara organisation and some other people visited Loliondo and met with many Maasai who were waiting gathered outside the guesthouse since they'd heard Mama Sara was coming. Before the arrival of the group the guesthouse owner had to go to the police station to – perhaps naively since it’s well known who authorities work for - report Killel who was engaging in trespass and abusive language. The same night policemen came to enquire about Mama Sara, but left since nothing illegal was going on.

The Mama Sara delegation wanted to, as usual – the organisation has always had excellent relations with local authorities - meet the outgoing DC for a courtesy call, but he was away and directed them to other district officials. There was a visit to the DED and DEO, but through a phone call it was found that the District Administrative Secretary who was functioning as acting DC had been ordered by the RC to send away the Mama Sara delegation before they could meet with any Maasai. There was a meeting with the Ngorongoro Security Committee and the Mama Sara delegation was not allowed to return to the guest house before crowds waiting to meet Mama Sara had been dispersed by the police, and then the delegation got house arrest until leaving in the morning.

The Mara Sara organisation helps because it’s been asked to help, and not to take anything, while the “investors” take much more than they give, and use their “help” as a weapon in the war to control Maasai land.

On 10th -11th March the RC made a “silent” visit to Loliondo meeting with councillors and members of the Ngorongoro Security Committee. The RC is said to have thanked leaders and those affected for having agreed to leave the area inside the park as he had ordered in February. The RC also used the occasion to inform that surveying of the boundaries between Serengeti National Park and the regions of Arusha and Mara was soon to begin.

On 14th -15th March the secretary general of CCM, Abdulraham Kinana, visited Ngorongoro District. He’s reported as not having said anything of substance at a meeting in Wasso. He thanked people for the continuing support for the governing party.

Surveying Team
A team from the Ministry for Lands arrived in Loliondo on 18th March to survey the boundary with the national park. This surveying led to big problems since the surveyors were using the wrong documents and methods. It’s not known when they will return.

Channel 10 Again Worked for OBC
On 28th March Channel 10 aired another documentary inciting against the people of Loliondo featuring the RC on his visit to Loliondo, the director of TANAPA, the “investor-friendly” councillor for Maaloni and OBC’s managing director. Unlike the first documentary I’ve not been able to get detailed information about this one, but a teaser showed a rolling text saying that the government wanted people to stop taking livestock and agriculture into the national park – and into the area “set aside for investment” (whatever that is, there’s only village land), so there’s no doubt that the tone was the same as in the first documentary.

Nyalandu Landed and Left
On 1st April it was reported that Minister Nyalandu landed in Loliondo and left. He dropped off the permanent secretary of the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, Adelhelm James Meru,  and apparently or unfortunately it does not seem to have been an April Fools’ joke. (Others sources said that Nyalandu attended meetings before leaving). According to his Twitter account, Nyalandu was on 31st March touring the boundary between Ngorongoro and Makao WMA in anti-poaching helicopter, together with the permanent secretary.

Serious Abuse against Kirtalo Villagers and Kenyan Traders
On 1st April one man from Kirtalo and three Kenyan cattle traders were brutally beaten and arrested accused of being “Kenyan”. The Kenyan traders were quickly taken to court and sentenced to six months. On the 2nd six more people from Kirtalo were arrested while the man from the previous day was still detained, and on the 3rd, Good Friday, seven people from Kirtalo together with five more Kenyan traders were beaten and taken to the police station. On the 4th, Easter Eve, 12 people were still in detention. These people were attacked in Iloopilukuny in Oloipiri village and Olengusa in Kirtalo, by Immigration officers together with some Field Force Unit and KDU anti-poaching unit from Arusha, OBC rangers, administrative police and ten Laitayok from Oloipiri councillor William Alais’ “investor-friendly”* gang. Several of the victims were seriously injured, - especially Nemonji Soit with a severe head wound and a broken hand - but not taken to hospital, and Lemomo Sepere whose feet were in a very bad state after being beaten with sticks. 18 people in total presented injuries. On the 6th the detained Tanzanians were released while the Kenyans remained locked up. Later two of the Kenyans were released while three are still detained.

It should be remembered that very many people in Loliondo depend on Kenya for cattle business. Many also get affordable quality education in Kenya.

On Monday 6th April the anti-Kenyan operation started in Ololosokwan as well. Four Kenyans were jailed for illegal entry and stay in Tanzania. On the 9th one Kenyan – who is a child, approximately 15 years old - was taken to court together with three Tanzanians accused of “helping Kenyans”. The Tanzanians were released on bail while the Kenyan minor is still in police custody. OBC rangers or Oloipiri “investor-friendly”* gang were not involved in the operation in Ololosokwan. They seem only to have been active in Kirtalo. In the team were Police, KDU, Immigration, Usalama wa Taifa (intelligence and security service), Wildlife Department from Dar es Salaam, Field Force Unit and Magereza (prisons).

On 6th April some Maasai across the border in Kenya, “chiefs and land committee”, at Olpusimoru market made an announcement that they would close the border on the 14th, they would “stop the Tanzanians from accessing the livestock markets and water in Kenya – and also have many of them who live in our land and will evict them soon.” Some Tanzanians do not believe that this will happen since the Kenyans depend on cheap Tanzanian cattle and customary sharing of grazing resources in times of crises.

On 6th April OBC’s Isaack Mollel was reported to be ordering people near the OBC camp to move away. All refused to do this, and then there’s not been more heard from OBC.

At midnight 10th April the anti-Kenyan team was expected in Arash. The team arrived and left on the 11th taking one Kenyan, and two Tanzanians suspected of holding Kenyans, with them to Loliondo “town”.

The Kenyans held another meeting on the 12th, closed the border on the 13th but later allowed the Olpusimoru market to continue “since people begged, but it’s the last one”, and are preparing to go to Loliondo to see the DC.

Another issue for councillor Alais’ “investor-friendly”* group is the market at Karkamoru that they want emptied claiming that it is in Oloipiri. Karkamoru used to be in Soitsambu village before this village was split up into Kirtalo, Soitsambu and Mondorosi – and now it is in the middle of Kirtalo, so the “investor-friendly” claim does not make sense. The problem for the destructive gang is that the fact that OBC’s camp and air strip are in Kirtalo, Soitsambu ward complicates their “agreement” with the hunters from the UAE.

A terrible drought seemed on the way, but it has now been raining for some time, and there’s enough grass in the osero. Land grabbers and land threats have to go as well. They should be chased away.

Susanna Nordlund

*This is a euphemism.


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