Sunday, 24 May 2015

Some Good News and a Lot More Abuse and Insanity from Loliondo

More articles inciting against the Maasai of Loliondo
Fear about the anti-Kenyan operation           .
Mass arrests after extremely corrupt police were beaten by warriors at Ololosokwan market.
Youths arrested for “environmental destruction” in area where OBC are active
Demonstrations at Thomson Safaris’ PR spectacle inaugurating the Sukenya dispensary.
Excellent article about Thomson Safaris in Vice Magazine.
Attack on Kirtalo by police incited by William Alais’ investor-friendly gang.
Not too clever journalists.
Not too clever DC.
UAE Water Project. 

There have been very worrying developments, but also some promising news, and an excellent international article. As usual it’s been unreasonably difficult to get exact information.

The Kenyans that were jailed during the anti-Kenyan operation the first part of April are still in prison in Loliondo.

On 20th April Kenyan Maasai at a meeting at Ilkerin Loita resolved to close the border. People there were particularly bitter about their clansman Long’oi, councillor for Maaloni. The problem is twofold: besides disturbance to those in the two countries that depend on each other for trade and education – especially Tanzanian children in school in Kenya, and Kenyans that need grazing in times of crises - and have friend and family ties, there is also the constant threat of the nasty habit of Tanzanian authorities accusing Tanzanians of not being Tanzanians. Leaders from the two countries together with the DCs from Ngorongoro and Narok, met in Olpusimoru on 12th May. I was told that after much talk it was agreed that there should be free movement across the border with permits, and grazing by Kenyan Maasai should be done by special pass. Some Tanzanian children are still stranded without school. On the 23rd there was a cross-border Loita meeting in Olosho – arranged at an age mate meeting in Pololeti - and there was no agreement at all. Next meeting will be on the 29th in Ilkerin and involving only leaders from the two countries, traditional leaders and politicians.  

The Jamhuri Again Engages in Hate Speech
On 21st April the Jamhuri ran another article by OBC’s own journalist, Manyerere Jackton, who so often has spewed out his inciting words against the Maasai of Loliondo. This time the article contained the names of 280 “Kenyans” in Loliondo, including Kunday Parmwat who was councillor for Soitsambu for 10 years. As usual Manyerere lashes out against the NGOs that speak up for land rights, calling them “Kenyan”. Though the only example of a Kenyan NGO person that he comes up with is special seats councillor Tina Timan who is married to a former MP, has lived in Tanzania for over 25 years, has six Tanzanian children – and Tina does actually, according to all I have asked, not work for any NGO at all. To exemplify Manyerere writes that Tina spoke out against OBC at the recent Nyerere Intellectual Festival, which was an excellent thing to do – even if it was another woman, Kooya Timan, who did it, and Tina wasn’t there.

On 24th April several of those listed in the inciting article spoke up on ITV about hidden agenda behind calling them Kenyans – not that hidden to this blogger after all these years - and that in fact many Tanzanians had been attacked in the anti-Kenyan operation. When you are against the “investor” you are “Kenyan”.

The Anti-Kenyan Team
On 23rd April the anti-Kenyan operation personnel returned. They were allegedly saying that they “had operation Kimbunga”, which is a kind of operation that in other parts of the country has led to brutal evictions of “illegal immigrants”, often including Tanzanian citizens. There were fears that all Purko risked being victimised by the operation. The team stayed at Dommel guest house in Wasso for some days, but did reportedly not engage in any activities.

Investor-Friendly Ward Meeting
On 25th April there was a meeting between the wards under “investor-friendly” leadership, Oloipiri, Maaloni and Olorien. They could not agree about ward boundaries.

Raia Mwema goes Insane
On 27th April the Raia Mwema joined in inciting against the Maasai of Loliondo. In a strange editorial this paper called for the government’s support for the new DC, Hashim Mgandilwa, in the work against Kenyan invaders and against the imaginary almost 40 international NGOs in Loliondo that are helping the Kenyans to undermine conservation. I do hope that readers, and the new DC, recognise such an article as insanity.

Der Spiegel and El País
I happened to come across an article about the Serengeti in the Spanish newspaper El País, ¿Qué será del Serengueti?, that was a translation from Der Spiegel of an article by Philip Bethge (this blogger is not conversant with German). The article consisted, in its totality, of Frankfurt Zoological Society propaganda. The reporter went to some lengths describing Bernhard Grzimek, who in the 50s campaigned for having the Maasai and others evicted from the Serengeti – as some kind of visionary saint. All views about the current state of the Serengeti came directly from FZS. The organisation’s current Africa director, Robert Muir, declares Loliondo and Ngorongoro as the most problematic areas because of the Maasai with their cows as status symbols. Muir has the audacity to say that at the moment it’s not clear who has the rights to the lands outside the protected zone, and since some time back there’s no agreement about who can decide over the land use. Well, Muir, get acquainted with Village Land Act 1999. The clueless reporter even refers to Loliondo as a “reserve”. That would be in Muir’s dreams, and was in OBC’s plans when the company funded the land use plan that was rejected in 2011. This all reminds me of the horrible interview in the hunting newsletter African Indaba with Muir’s predecessor, Markus Borner, in 2013 where Borner expressed support for Kagasheki’s threats of the massive 1,500 km2 land grab, and also showed some astonishing ignorance about Tanzanian law and the general situation in Loliondo.

Mass Arrests after Attack on Police in Ololosokwan
On 3rd May there were reports about warriors at Ololosokwan market beating up two policemen that were engaging in extreme corruption finding “faults” with motorcycles and demanding money, which the police had been doing with impunity for a very long time. One of the policemen was admitted to Wasso hospital, and then referred to Arusha. The following day the ward councillor, Yannick Ndoinyo, and village chairman, Kerry Dokonyo, were arrested accused of having planned and incited the attack. On the 6th more villagers from Ololosokwan were arrested, together with the councillor for Soitsambu, Daniel Ngoitiko, who had been nowhere near the market, but had been at a meeting earlier in the week in Ololosokwan. The police was catching anyone they saw in Ololosokwan. Those detained, together with the earlier detained councillor and chairman, were forced to walk some 7 kilometres from Wasso to Loliondo in front of police vehicles. On the 7th 18 people were released on bail while 9 youths were still detained. Former MP Matthew Timan was both arrested and released on bail the same day. His “crime” was that those released had met journalists at his guest house. Not being popular with Gabriel Killel could also have influenced. The councillor for Arash, even further from Ololosokwan market, Mathew Siloma, who was travelling, was warned that the Security Committee was interested in him too, but nothing has happened to him. The DC and the police, according to the press, told a story about the attack on corrupt policemen as if it would be something planned by leaders because of the anti-Kenyan operation, and that the leaders had attended a meeting in Olposimoru in Kenya, which the DC said was “against the law”… On the 11th and 13th the youths, except one, were released on bail. A court case against the 9 youths will begin on 1st June.

Youths Arrested in Kishoshoroni
On 5th May 6 youths from Mondorosi were arrested by KDU anti-poaching rangers in the Kishoshoroni area where OBC have their airstrip, accused of environmental destruction. The youths had been building bomas, and instead came to share the same cell as the people from Ololosokwan. They were released on the 12th. Some of the youths paid fines of 200,000 each and some have a case to answer.  

Inauguration of the Dispensary in Sukenya a.k.a Thomson Propaganda Spectacle
On 9th May Telele, the totally investor befriended MP for Ngorongoro, inaugurated the dispensary in Sukenya that Thomson Safaris’ former guests have fundraised for helping the land grabbers in their depraved strategy of charity as a weapon of war. The minister for health had also been flown in by Thomson at an unknown cost. There was a demonstration with affected people carrying many protests signs against Thomson and the land grabbers’ supporters. Telele insulted the protestors saying that he didn’t want their votes, and that he’d be MP by presidential appointment. The minister for health is reported to have left early. This is the good news.

Court Hearings
The hearings in the case against Thomson Safaris’ land grab started on 11th May, and the witnesses were in court, but since the lawyer for the government did not turn up nothing happened and the hearings were adjourned. The following two days witnesses gave evidence. The defendants are to be heard in July.

Excellent Article about Thomson Safaris in Vice Magazine
 On 12th May Vice Magazine uploaded an article by Jean Friedman-Rudovsky and the photographer Noah Friedman-Rudovski from their May issue called, The Ecotourism Industry IsSaving Tanzania’s Animals and Threatening Its Indigenous People, and despite the title the article is entirely about Thomson Safaris’ “Enashiva Nature Refuge”. 

Since this blog post was getting too delayed I wrote another post with my views on the article. 

The reporter, who visited Loliondo in early December 2014, managed to talk with both Thomson and their victims, and grasped the situation quite well. William Alais and Gabriel Killel worked hard for Thomson presenting community support and projects, also by OBC. When Alais didn’t find the reporter pliable enough he reported her to the DC and a lengthy interrogation by the Security Committee followed. The reporter and photographer were however allowed to stay their final day in Loliondo after explaining that they would spend the day visiting Thomson’s projects, talking to their supporters and interviewing William Alais. Alais’ men had been told not to leave the reporters alone, but even so the Thomson supporters they were introduced to had their own complaints about harassment. 

No reaction from Thomson has been published.

Attack on Kirtalo
On 15th May the councillor of Oloipiri, William Alais, together with the chairman of Oloipiri village and the Officer Commanding District came to Kirtalo market telling people not to graze their animals in the Indashat area claiming that it is in Oloipiri. Those addressed refused since Indashat is in Kirtalo. The following day three men Oleketuyuo Ngume, Ndalii Seret and Ngingir Naing'isa together with his 7 year old son, were caught in Indashat while they were grazing and taken to Loliondo where they had to spend the night in a cell. In the evening the police with the OCD fired shots at three bomas in Kirtalo making some people run away in panic. Around 30 children were lost, but fortunately found during the night. It’s well known that the area was inside Kirtalo sub-village and now is in Kirtalo village. The “investor-friendly” councillor is said to want the land with OBCs camp to be in his ward, since it’s what OBC wants, and the OCD obviously works for UAE hunters as well.

The three arrested men were released on the 17th.  The same day there was a crisis meeting in Kirtalo attended by some 400 Purko. People gave personal testimonies of painful encounters. The DC attended and to calm down the situation he said he’d remove Laitayok bomas from the area within three days. This was considered an empty promise, and this blogger thinks it’s OBC that has to be removed.

The meeting continued on the 18th, even after the DC phoned the chairman of Kirtalo trying to stop it.

A team of human rights organisations and journalists arrived in Loliondo on the 18th on a pre-planned fact-finding mission, and the DC tried to prohibit them from visiting Soitsambu, Oloipiri or Ololosokwan, but after much talk they were allowed to continue if accompanied by security officers and reporting to the DC before leaving. First they went to Oloipiri where William Alais had much praise for OBC and the government. Then the team went to Kirtalo were people spoke of abuse and showed bullets and tear gas canisters from the Friday evening attack by the police and OCD. The following day they went to Arash where people complained about the burning of bomas by TANAPA rangers and KDU anti-poaching squads in February. Then the team had a meeting with the DC until late at night. I hope they will soon have a report online.

Nonsense in the Press
On the 19th the press, like the Daily News and Habari Leo, reported that the DC had declared a “state of emergency” due to “infiltration of dangerous weapons”. Public meetings, rallies and other communal gatherings had been banned as security got intensified. The DC said Kirtalo village was out to wage war onto the neighbouring Oloipiri over land conflicts, and then he talked about Kenyans. This is total nonsense that the DC had been telling not too clever journalists the day before. This story was obviously made up to distract from the crimes committed by the police and OCD.

UAE Red Crescent Water Project
Also on the 19th a water project consisting of 33 wells donated by the UAE was handed over in Mairowa, Ololosokwan by the UAE ambassador. Those present did not use the occasion to complain about OBC. The project is an initiative by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai implemented by the UAE Red Crescent in association with the UAE embassy and OBC. The guest of honour was the minister for natural resources and tourism, Lazaro Nyalandu. The press reported about Nyalandu, again draped in a Maasai shuka, complaining about Kenyans and NGOs, and praising president Kikwete. The minister had a lot of fun saying that he’d like to see the NGOs investing in service provision, apparently forgetting that it’s the government’s job that not being done and instead is left to be used as a propaganda weapon by those with a lot of money and bad intentions.

On 21st May there was a meeting between Kirtalo and Oloipiri, together with the DC, to solve the conflict, and there was an agreement that the bomas in Indashat should be removed. That’s one Laitayok and one Purko boma. Grazing should go on as usual. The DC left the boundary issue to the villages since it was beyond his scope.

On 28th May it’s 7 years since Trent Keegan was murdered.

Susanna Nordlund


Scatt said...

Thanks, Susanna, as usual you did a good job, putting all this extensive news, some good some not so good - together. I appreciate it. Wonder what Thomson Safaris thinks about all this - FYI, I wake you EVERY morning to the FM radio advertising Thomson Safaris - then I spend the day seeing their ads on almost every page I visit. . . wonder what the cause of all this endless publicity us about. 3 more days (May 28th) until the 7th anniversary of Trent Keegan's murder - and still no news about it. Cio

Susanna said...

Thank you, Scatt. Having all those ads around you must be horrible.

Christopher said...

If you have googled Thomson in the past then you now get targeted ads appearing on your pages. Install Ad Blocker.

Susanna said...

Thanks, Christopher. I google Thomson all the time without getting ads, so I think it's also about geographical location. Scatt lives in the worst location for such problems.

Albert jack said...

Your website is for sure worth bookmarking. John B