Saturday, 1 October 2016

More about Lawlessness in Loliondo

More illegal arrests and malicious prosecution.

Cows detained and owners extorted.

Visits by big people.

Too much silence.

As the update to the previous blog post says, the bizarre espionage and sabotage case against four people accused of having been in contact with me was postponed until 17th October. The Public Prosecutor, despite of having been ordered by the Court to deliver complainant statement according to section 9 (3) of Criminal Procedure, failed to deliver this, but the case will come on 17th October 2016 to see the status of the prosecution case. There’s an agreement that this case needs to be conducted on speed. It would be helpful to have media present in the court room. Who can make some journalists go to Loliondo?

The new Regional Commissioner, Mrisho Gambo, visited Loliondo on 6th September. He went to Njoroi, near the border with Kenya in Ololosokwan ward. Reports were that the RC did not say much and was maybe not bad, but there were several warning signs. It was announced that the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) would build a customs office in Olaika. TRA would also provide 50 million Tshs for a much needed well. The worrying part is that the RC came accompanied by OBC’s general manager Isaack Mollel, who announced that the hunters would donate another well, and according to the press, the RC talked about people that “incite conflict”. It is hoped that this is just a case of being targeted with disinformation, and not of siding with those that can provide most personal benefits. The RC will apparently visit Loliondo again next week.

The illegal arrests continued on 8th September when Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition reported that “over 25 people” had been arrested in Mondorosi (a.k.a Mundoros) while preparing fundraising for women’s groups. It was workers of Pastoral Women’s Council: the director Maanda Ngoitiko, the lawyer Melau Alais, the accountant Jenni, senior manager Paulo, microfinance officer Winny, and the two board members Kooya Timan and Noongipa Alais. Some school staff from Emanyatta Secondary School in Ololosokwan were arrested as well: Lucy Edward who’s the matron and two teachers called Joseph Munga and Manja Yiile, together with 15 American students who were studying Maasai culture at Emanyatta. These people were brutally taken from Mondorosi to Loliondo police station under the supervision of the Officer Commanding District and the Immigration Officer. The students were released the same night, while the ten PWC workers and school staff were released on bail the following day after being charged with organising a meeting without permission. Maanda Ngoitiko was, under police escort, taken to Arusha in the morning and released after meeting the RC. Anyone can guess who wanted these people arrested. Nothing more has been heard about this case. (Absolutely none of my information comes from PWC or anyone associated with PWC.)

The judge was to make a ruling in August about the appeal in the Thomson Safaris land grab case, but I haven’t been able to find anyone who knows what, if anything, happened. From someone on the ground it’s been reported that herders enter the land occupied by Thomson to graze their animals even though Thomson are angry about seeing them on the plains, and grown men are no longer beaten, only boys, but I haven’t been able to obtain details about it. Judging from previous year, I suppose there isn’t currently any grass on the land in question.

It was reported that people in Sukenya and Mondorosi were alarmed to see two planes flying over “Enashiva Nature Refuge” and surrounding areas for half an hour on 9th August. One informed person said it was “someone” looking for a good place for a lodge in Njoroi, but the one who reported said that the planes clearly focused on the land occupied by Thomson Safaris.

I was informed that on 14th August Serengeti National Park rangers were beating herders in Emuguru, Maaloni and next day they were ordered to leave the area before the evening. Then the rangers moved on to Irmolelian, Arash. Nothing more was heard about this, but on 8th September some 260 cows belonging to people from Kirtalo and Mairowa were detained at Lobo Hill near Serengeti National Park. Some of the cows had been inside the park and some outside. The rangers demanded 50,000 Tshs per cow for the release and the owners moved around trying to gather the money. Later it transpired that 44 cows were also detained at Irmolelian since the morning of 8th September. The cows were released on Sunday 11th September, after their owners paid the fines.
At Lobo Hill Photographer: Masilelu Engukuu Masago
On 17th September the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs visited Loliondo, and he went to the site for a customs office in Oloika, Njoroi. Several complaints were forwarded to the deputy minister, among them complaints about arrests for the benefit of “investors”. It was reported that the Officer Commanding District brazenly lied that those who are arrested have broken the law.

I hope to soon be back with good news for a change. All information is very much appreciated.

Susanna Nordlund

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