Monday, 31 August 2015

Some Kind of Loliondo Update and Delayed News About Abuse in NCA

I was contacted by the worst anti-Loliondo journalist.
There was a very bad article in the Raia Tanzania
Everyone is busy with the elections.
There isn’t many news about the “investors”.
The dry season has brought serious problems with rangers, especially in areas of NCA.

I have not been able to get many updates, reportedly because everyone is busy with the coming elections and the "investors" are keeping a low profile. When I was about to publish a blog post about nothing I was informed about abuse committed by NCAA rangers in Ndutu.

I’m happy to say that my arrest report has been translated to Swahili by Evarist Chahali.

Green Pastures for TANAPA and NCAA
I’ve got reports that in this dry season rangers from TANAPA and NCAA benefit from the Maasai pastoral problems by charging herders unlawful fees/charges and in NCA even burning their temporary homes and belongings. On 26th August people from Arash had to pay 20 million Tshs for national park grazing, but there are even worse problems in Ngorongoro Conservation Area where grazing is not prohibited, and I was informed almost by chance. 28 people have been arrested for grazing around Ndutu, locked up for almost two weeks (!) and then released on bail. Temporary homes and belongings have been burned by the rangers in the Ndutu marsh area and near Mlima Matiti. When the pastoralists brought journalists to cover the abuse, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority stopped these from passing through Lodoare Gate. "It's a green pasture for TANAPA and NCAA rangers", says Emmanul Oleshangai from Endulen.

The “Journalist”
As mentioned in an update to the arrest report, after having published that post I was contacted by Manyerere Jackton who had written an article about my arrest that was full of the wildest lies. In his email Manyerere's argument was "Tanzania for Tanzanians" and that I as a "mzungu" did not have a certificate to do as I wanted with his beloved country. The obvious question was to ask why Manyerere then works so hard to incite against the Tanzanians living in Loliondo for the benefit of a foreign "investor". Instead of replying Manyerere rapidly revealed an informant by sending photos telling me how every step of my "illegal activities" had been monitored. He did not explain how meeting people could be an "illegal activity" in a democratic country. Neither did he explain why the article did not have his name. The informant was the driver Mangusha who took me to Kirtalo the same day as I was arrested in the evening.
In April this same year, 2015, I had sent Manyerere Jackton the email below. He never replied to the questions in it.
"Dear Mr Jackton,
I have with increasing worry been reading your articles about Loliondo. Where does your immense interest for Loliondo, nationality and NGOs come from? Why aren't you writing about other areas with a border to Kenya? The border was an agreement between Germany and Great Britain, by the way. How can you write something as bizarre as that 70% of people in Loliondo would not be Tanzanian? Do you really believe this? Do you really know of any NGO person in Loliondo who isn't a Tanzanian citizen?
What’s your relation to OBC? Are you aware that this company participated in brutal, extrajudicial evictions in 2009, and that the evictions were for the benefit of OBC? A 7-year old girl was lost and has still not been found. Are you aware that OBC totally funded a crazy draft land use plan that would have led to the destruction of thousands of lives and livelihoods if not stopped?
Why are you doing this? Aren't you ashamed? Why don't you just apologize and stop inciting against the Maasai of Loliondo?
With grave concerns,
Susanna Nordlund”

Raia Tanzania
On 4th August the Raia Tanzania ran a long special feature on Loliondo. Much of this was tourist style writing about the Serengeti starting with the historically incorrect mention that there were no people there before the Maasai moved in from the north. Then many pages dealt with the boundary with Serengeti National Park. Some journalists, among them of course Manyerere Jackton, visited Ololosokwan and asked questions about the boundary in March this year, but they do not seem to have visited the areas in Arash and Maaloni where people's houses had recently been burned because of the boundary conflict. Most telling is that Gabriel Killel is presented as a local Maasai with broad thinking, and different to many, who lashes out against the NGOs as instigators of conflict financed by investors and that should be prohibited by the government. There’s no mention at all that Killel actually is the director of the NGO Kidupo and that he suddenly in October 2014 went on a trip to Dodoma in support of Thomson Safaris and OBC. This is not because the journalists Manyerere Jackton and Joe Beda, editor of the Raia Tanzania, would be ignorant about Killel’s identity. I have an email by Killel from 31st March directed to, among others, these two journalists, with a letter by Killel ranting against the decision of the Sami organisation Mama Sara to cancel cooperation with Kidupo after the director’s sudden development of a strong friendship with land grabbing investors, which was totally contrary to what Mama Sara had always heard him saying. Since Mama Sara is an organization for solidarity between indigenous peoples, the only option was to cut the cooperation with Kidupo that had been going on for many years.

Another part of this special report is an article written by the again anonymous Manyerere Jackton about my arrest. It’s apparently written the week I was arrested, then published over a month later, but without updating it, making it seem like the arrest was still ongoing.  In this article it’s claimed that I would have done illegal “research” about the conflict between the Maasai and the Sonjo! By having a look at my blog it’s easy to check that this is totally baseless, but Manyerere is not known to bother with facts. Several anonymous cowards, said to have participated in the arrest, add their real or wilful confusion - probably a combination – to the article. An anonymous SENAPA official claims that my aim is the destabilize (kuiteteresha) Serengeti NP for the benefit of those that have “sent me” and that many were happy that I had been prevented from visiting the country. An anonymous resident of Wasso has his own fantasies about the totally imaginary Maasai/Sonjo research and says that the outcome isn’t helpful since I take sides. The DC asks the “journalist” to wait with writing since things could be stirred up. The article says that I would have been sent to court the day before, but that it wasn’t possible. The Minister for Home Affairs adds that he had not revoked my prohibited immigrant status, and that he didn’t know why I returned, but the owner of the guest house was being questioned. Why not question the bus driver, or some people in the streets of Arusha, as well? Maybe they know why I got tourist visas in 2011, 2013 and this year. An easier way to find out what I’m doing and why I have to go to Loliondo is to actually read my blog.

In the CCM nomination elections for Ngorongoro MP William Olenasha was the winner with 30,017 votes. I think I can safely say that he’s the candidate that’s least likely to be “befriended” by the kind of “investors” that this blog deals with, and Olenasha has also, as a lawyer, been of great help to people suffering from natural resource based abuse in Ngorongoro. Elias Ngorisa, the current district council chairman got 15,664 votes and then defected to the opposition party Chadema, perhaps - or almost certainly - hoping to ride on the roaring waves of Edward Lowassa, and the party quickly made him their candidate. Ngorisa has the past couple of years spoken up clearly against OBC and Thomson, also as a witness in the court case, but as late as 2011 he was very close to OBC. So both parties have candidates that are bad news for the “investors”. The useless, totally “investor-befriended” incumbent MP Telele got 6,509 votes.

There were varied results among the “investor-friendly” councillors. Mashati, the councillor for Enguserosambu lost the CCM nomination elections for his ward, and subsequently moved to Chadema. This individual did in 2010 send a letter seeking “partnership” with Thomson at the same time as he was communicating with me saying that he hoped my struggle for Maasai rights and against the investor would never end… The “investor-friendly” Long’oi of Maaloni also lost. Unfortunately, Alais and Marekani are still candidates for their respective wards, Oloipiri and Olorien/Magaiduru. The current councillors for Ololosokwan, Soitsambu and Arash – who are viewed as opposed to land grabbing “investors” – stay as CCM candidates for their wards.

The anti-landgrabbing women seat councillors Maanda Ngoitiko and Tina Timan have moved to Chadema. There’s some confusion as to if Tina was nominated or not. Maanda was nominated, but switched parties anyway. Apparently CCM at regional level refused her nomination even when she clearly was elected. The regional CCM chairman has also moved to Chadema, so the election campaign is quite confused and agitated.

The hearings of the defendants in the court case against Thomson Safaris were to be held on 24th July, but were postponed to September. There are no reports of harassment and violence, and it seem like Thomson are keeping to the request by the old DC and not trying to restrict access to the land they occupy while the court case is ongoing.

OBC have their camp prepared, up and running, but are apparently still waiting for the royal hunters to visit.

I hope to soon have more news and that it will be good news.

Susanna Nordlund


Anonymous said...

Hi Susanna,

Keep it up! Never be discouraged with those against human rights. Remember TRUTH NEVER CHANGES!

Susanna said...

Hi anonymous,
Thank you very much. I'll never be discouraged by those against human rights. The problem is those that are too busy to share information.

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