Wednesday, 30 August 2017

How Could Massive Human Rights Crime Happen Again in Loliondo and Why is There Such Silence?

Statement from the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism and the Minister’s own totally conflicting statements
OBC’s ministers
The Germans
The operation to silence everyone
The leaders
Who is responsible for this human rights crime?
Oloosek 13th August

The text has updates in purple. Find updates in the introduction, under "OBC's ministers", and under "the leaders".
From 13th to 26th August 2017 hundreds of Maasai bomas (homesteads) were illegally burned to ashes in Loliondo and Sale divisions of Ngorongoro District, Tanzania, from Ololosokwan village in the north to Piyaya 90 km further south. Hundreds of families suffered loss of property and were left without food or shelter, and an unknown number of cattle was dispersed during this severe drought, it’s not yet known how many people have been illegally arrested and taken to Mugumu, at the other side of Serengeti National Park, during the operation, and the arrests of people and cattle continue up to date. Hundreds of cows are have been illegally detained at Oloosek, and kept at Klein's gate without food or water, and many have died. Many people have been severely beaten, including a 9-year old girl and a 12-year old boy who were beaten unconcious (no confirmed shooting after the operation started).The extent of the fear and panic can’t be imagined. This human rights crime is being committed on the ground by rangers from Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, assisted by local Loliondo police. All the bomas were situated on village land per Village Land Act No.5 of 1999, which means the land is owned and managed by the residents of local villages and isn’t any kind of protected area. The attack is a quite unexpected repeat of the extrajudicial evictions of 2009. On 3 September rangers keep seizing cattle at Oloosek, destroying temporary shelters that the victims have put up, and preventing access to water. Oloosek in Ololosokwan village is a very attractive corridor of land between OBC’s camp and the Klein’s area.
Data is being compiled. 

On 4th September the government organ CHRAGG issued an interim order to stop the evictions, and demanded that the government explain the operation. It was communicated on the 5th. This is a result of the work of Onesmo Olengurumwa of Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition.

On 7th September the victims of the illegal evictions were still being beaten and arrested as before CHRAGG’s interim stop order. In Oloosek in Ololosokwan, Engare Oodare river and nearby places like Empirbir, in Endashata, Ololosokwan, and also areas of Kirtalo like Mambarashani (where OBC have their airfield), and Kitumidet and Ileken near Mambarashani people are beaten when returning, which is in complete violation of  the interim stop order. The same day, the 7th, the rangers tried to humiliate some men who were washing in Engare Oodare river, and they seized 90 calves. On the 8th they were beating up some young herders. I haven’t heard any reports about beatings on the 9th. Those arrested in Mugumu were released on bail on the 7th.  Two young warriors were arrested in Arash and taken to Mugumu, and on the 13th 20 more people were arrested, and more cows seized...

On 16th September, I got reports about beating and arrests in Piyaya, but haven’t been able to obtain confirmed details. On the 17th more cows were seized in Ending'ting near Ang'at Endek in Ololosokwan.
On Monday 18th September, the rangers sold off illegally seized cattle at Klein’s gate! The beatings continued and Parketuyan Toroge was sent to hospital in Mugumu in critical condition.I should have written a new blog post long ago, but am waiting for some delayed information.

On 21st September KDU rangers (anti-poaching, close to OBC) were beating up people in  areas around Oserosopia and Olangawuas, near the Kenyan border.

Statement from the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism and the Minister’s own totally conflicting statements
On 17th August the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism issued a statement explaining the “removal of cattle and housing from Serengeti National Park and the boundary of Loliondo Game Controlled Area”. The operation involves the Ngorongoro Security Committee led by DC Rashid Mfaume Taka, the District Council (how?), the police force, National Security, Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority. The aim is to protect conservation in the park, Loliondo GCA and the Serengeti Ecosystem, and to protect the tourism business. The statement adds that removing housing and cattle from the boundary area of Loliondo increases grazing possibilities for the dry season, but the dry season is now, and not only that but there’s currently the worst drought in many years… Other aims are to reduce the ease with which cattle enter the park, combat invaders from the neighbouring country and protect water sources, In the words of the DC it’s explained that the operation in Loliondo GCA will take place on a 90 km stretch from north to south and with a width of 5 km – which means village land and is a confession of crime in black on white that I hope will be presented in national and international courts of law. There’s also a complaint that those that want to “incite hatred against the government” have mentioned the shooting of Pormoson Ololoso in connection with the operation when it happened five days before it begun. Though there isn’t any explanation to why a Serengeti ranger far inside village land shot an innocent herder in both legs and one arm.
Pormoson Ololoso

The same day, 17th August, Minister Maghembe told the press a radically different story to that of his own ministry. He said that people and cattle had to leave the 1,500 km2 “Loliondo Game Reserve” (a quick look at the ministry’s list would have shown him that no such reserve exists) and go to the remaining 2,500 km2 of Loliondo GCA, which means that he pretended that OBC’s wishes would already have come true without any decision or proper gazettement. He complained about NGOs, some from the neighbouring country, that say there is a conflict so that they get money from “England”, which is extremely sad when the Loliondo NGOs have been intimidated into silence.

Otterlo Business Corporation that organizes hunting trips for Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai has had the hunting block (right to hunt) in Loliondo Game Controlled Area that’s bigger than the whole of Loliondo division, since 1992, and they got these two (north and south) hunting blocks over the heads of the Maasai landowners in what turned into a corruption scandal still known as Loliondogate, and which was covered by the reporter Stan Katabalo who passed away under disputed circumstances in 1993. The scandal was based on the irregular allocation of the hunting block, and on reports that the Emirati hunters, including the current ruler of Dubai, were breaking every hunting rule.

OBC became increasingly more hostile to the Maasai and their livestock, and in 2007-2008 the then DC forced the Maasai to enter a Memorandum of Understanding with the hunters and hold meetings to coordinate grazing and hunting, but such meetings were never held.

In the drought year 2009 OBC personnel assisted the paramilitary Field Force Unit to extrajudicially evict the Maasai from the 1,500 km2 that serves as OBC’s core hunting area next to Serengeti National Park. Hundreds of houses were burned and thousands of cattle were chased into an extreme drought area which did not have enough food or water to sustain them. 7-year old Nashipai Gume was lost in the chaos and has not been found, ever since.
Sheikh Mohammed in Loliondo 2009

People eventually moved back and some leaders participated in reconciliation ceremonies with OBC.

In early 2011 a draft District Land Use Plan, which OBC’s general manager had earlier boasted to media (Habari Leo 23 November 2009) about funding in its totality, surfaced and it proposed turning the 1,500 km2 into a protected area, which meant eviction and was OBC’s exact wish. This land use plan was strongly rejected by Ngorongoro District Council.

In 2013, then Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki, made bizarre statements as if all village land in Loliondo would have disappeared through magic, and the people of Loliondo would be generously “gifted” with the land outside the 1,500 km2. This was nothing but a horribly twisted way of again trying to evict the Maasai landowners from OBC’s core hunting area. After many mass meetings – where there was agreement to never again enter any MoU with OBC - and protest delegations to Dar es Salaam and Dodoma - then Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda in a speech on 23rd September the same year revoked Kagasheki’s threat and told the Maasai to continue their lives as before this threat that through the loss of dry season grazing land would have led to the destruction of livelihoods, environmental degradation and increased conflict with neighbours.

OBC’s general manager usually tells the press that the land belongs to the Tanzanian government that has decided that it’s the Dubai hunters that have the right to use it.

In July 2016, OBC’s most devoted “journalist” Manyerere Jackton wrote an “article” calling for PM Majaliwa to return the Kagasheki-style threat. In November 2016 OBC sent out a “report” (or just a press release since the report seems impossible to get hold of) detailing the need for the alienation of the 1,500 km2 of important grazing land to protect water sources and wildlife paths. In mid-December 2016, the Arusha RC Mrisho Gambo was tasked by the PM with setting up a committee to “solve the conflict”, and on 25th January 2017 the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, in the middle of the drought stricken Osero (bushland), flanked the journalists Manyerere Jackton and Masyaga Matinyi, and ignoring the ongoing talks, made a declaration that the land had to be taken before the end of March. In March 2017 Minister Maghembe co-opted the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Tourism so that some members - Joseph Kasheku Musukuma (MP for Geita Vijijini, CCM), Paulina Gekul (MP for Babati Mjini, Chadema), Godwin Mollel (MP for Siha, Chadema) and Omari Kigoda (MP for Handeni Mjini, CCM) - protested about being used to rubber stamp Maghembe’s plan for the land. Then the supposedly friendly RC’s committee started marking “critical areas” while being met with protest. On 21st March a compromise proposing a Wildlife Management Area (which the Maasai had rejected during many years of pressure) was presented by the RC’s committee, handed over to PM Majaliwa on 20th April, and we are still waiting to hear something from the PM.

And then - while waiting to hear from the PM - a totally illegal and inhumane eviction operation was initiated on 13th August.

OBC’s ministers
Basically, all Tanzanian ministers for natural resources and tourism have shown an over the top interest in accommodating OBC’s wishes.

Abubakar Mgumia had to resign in 1993 in connection with the Loliondogate scandal.

Zakia Meghji held press conferences in defence of OBC against Maasai protests in 2000.

Shamsa Mwangunga kept talking about “Kenyans” and threatening the NGOs during the 2009 evictions. On 14 September 2009 Minister Mwangunga issued a press statement saying that before March 2009 OBC’s core hunting area had been an “empty” area until pastoralists – most of them “Kenyan” – suddenly moved in and they had to be evicted to protect the environment and the tourist hunting business. Ominously, the Minister warned that in the years to come the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2009 (that came into operation in 2010) would separate Village Land from Game Controlled Areas. Converting the 1,500 km2 into the new kind of GCA that’s a protected area is what OBC have then been lobbying for, though lately even their friends have started talking about “Game Reserve” instead, since maybe the confusion with two different kinds of areas being called GCA wasn’t as useful as they’d thought.

Khamis Kagasheki, as mentioned, in 2013 kept making unusually rabid statements lying that taking the 1,500 km2 away from the Maasai would be “giving” them land, until PM Pinda spoke up about that the land was village land and the Maasai should continue their lives as before Kagasheki’s threats.

Lazaro Nyalandu held closed meetings with local Loliondo leaders in 2014 trying to buy them off. The leaders never signed anything, but OBC’s ever present divide and rule was worsened.
Nyalandu receiving Sheikh Mohammed 2015

Jumanne Maghembe, the worst of all, who during talks ordered by PM Majaliwa to “find a solution to the conflict” shows up in the 1,500 km2 declaring that the land must be taken before the end of March this year (2017) and co-opts a Parliamentary Standing Committee to lobby for OBC’s wishes. Then, while everyone is waiting to hear from the PM illegal evictions are committed on village land and Maghembe lies – contradicting the press statement from his own ministry – that the 1,500 km2 would be a “game reserve”. It does seem like Maghembe must be taken before international courts of justice. Update: in the most shameful way a giggling presenter at Azam TV on 4th September let Minister Maghembe expand “his” (OBC’s) lies unanswered for 30 minutes! The minister now used the same lies as Kagasheki used in 2013 , and the map from OBC’s draft “District Land Use Plan” that was rejected by all villages and the District Council in 2011. He also repeated Manyerere Jackton’s lies about the NGOs, and about me, unfortunately without mentioning the name of my blog so that people can see for themselves.

These very illegal and inhumane evictions from village land happened in 2009 and now again in 2017. In 2015 some bomas were brutally burned in areas of Arash and Maaloni inside, some deep inside, Serengeti National Park and in an area where there’s disagreement about where the boundary really is. Unlike what was claimed in some articles it wasn’t about emptying the 1,500 km2 so that OBC could “hunt lions and leopards”, and some people in Loliondo said that you can’t make too much of an issue of it when you have zero tolerance with the government invading village land, as is being done now. I was quite worried about the crying wolf, but those articles seem unstoppable and keep being quoted by serious organisations now again… Please stop it.

The Germans
In the 1950s the founder of Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), Bernhard Grzimek, lobbied for the removal of the Maasai, and other people, from Serengeti. Serengeti National Park was lost and some of the evicted Maasai went to live in Loliondo. German development aid to areas of the Serengeti ecosystem have then always been conducted in close cooperation with FZS.

The Tanzanian government and FZS have for many years been pressuring for a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to be established in Loliondo. Such an area involves setting aside land for the “investor” (OBC) and would give more power to the same and to the Director of Wildlife. For many years the Maasai were able to reject the proposal.

FZS have never been heard saying a word about OBC or about the brutal and illegal evictions of 2009. Though in an interview in the June 2013 edition of the newsletter for hunters, African Indaba, Markus Borner, FZS’s then recently retired head of Africa programme and for 30 years a resident of Seronera in Serengeti National Park showed the most astonishing ignorance of Tanzanian law, the existence of OBC, the reality on the ground, the UN definition of indigenous people, and just about everything else, while describing Kagasheki’s threat of alienating the 1,500 km2 as, “the present proposal seems a good way forward”.

Both Marc Nkwame in the Daily News and Paul Sarwatt in the RaiaMwema reported about what the Parliamentary Standing Committee co-opted by Minister Maghembe in March were told by the Chief Conservator at Serengeti National Park, William Mwakilema, about German money. The message was that 8 million euro (or it’s unclear if only the half for Ngorongoro District) from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the state owned German Development Bank (KfW), for a Serengeti Ecosystem Development and Conservation Project, were subject to the approval of the land use plan that would alienate the 1,500 km2 for a protected area. This would mean that when FZS much-wanted WMA seemed within reach, they wanted more. There hasn’t been anything heard from the Germans refuting or confirming this new, and neither the KfW, not the German Embassy responded to tweets.

On 15th March, when the RC’s committee was in Loliondo, 600 women held a manifestation in Wasso town with placards against losing more land, against OBC, and against the District Council accepting money from Germany - and the Ngorongoro District Council Chairman, Matthew Siloma, refused to sign accepting the German pieces of silver.
"Conservation is our tradition, OBC leave us our land" and ""District Council, don't receive money from the Germans, since it's death to us"

In the middle of the ongoing human rights crime in Loliondo, smiling photos of Minister Maghembe with the German Ambassador in Tanzania, Detlef Wächter, appeared in media. Office and resident buildings in Fort Ikoma for Serengeti National Park staff were handed over as a donation within the Serengeti Ecosystem Development and Conservation Project, and the two countries further strengthened their “partnership”.
Maghembe and Ambassador Detlef Wächter

The operation to silence everyone
Speaking up against the “investors” that endanger land rights in Loliondo – OBC and Thomson Safaris – has always been risky leading to, sometimes severe, harassment by the police, Immigration (since questioning the nationality of activists is a favourite among the “investors’” friends), and others. Crazy defamation in the Jamhuri paper by the “journalist” Manyerere Jackton is almost always guaranteed. This individual has by now written well over 40 articles inciting against the Maasai of Loliondo as “Kenyan” and governed by corrupt NGOs, going to the extreme of publishing a list of hundreds of private individuals that he considers as “Kenyans”.

In late June 2016, Manyerere Jackton sent me an email telling me, “Finally, you will know who is the worst journalist and who is the worst mzungu!” and later he sent me my own photos. Then, starting on 13 July 2016 there were illegal mass arrests of up to ten days, while the law requires that those arrested should be granted bail, or taken to court, within 24 hours. The first person arrested was the secondary school teacher Clinton “Eng’wes” Kairung who had visited me who was on holiday in Kenya (I can’t enter Tanzania since I’m a prohibited immigrant, with photos and fingerprints registered in the computer systems, and was illegally arrested for three nights in 2015). Manyerere Jackton sent me photos of Clinton’s phone to show that he was working with those involved in the illegal arrests. Several other people, like the councillor for Ololosokwan and the chairman of Mondorosi were arrested for a shorter time and then released. Clinton was eventually charged together with the secondary school teacher Supuk Olemaoi and the NGONET coordinator Samwel Nangiria. A special task force from Dar es Salaam came to Loliondo for the interrogations, and it later transpired that Samwel and Supuk were beaten during the interrogations. Bail wasn’t granted until advocate Shilinde Ngalula from Legal and Human Rights Centre was himself arrested in full court attire, Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition filed a habeas corpus application, lawyers in Arusha held a manifestation and the Tanganyika Law Society issued a statement. Later was Maanda Ngoitiko of Pastoral Women’s Council, when summoned to Arusha Police Station to collect her passport, arrested illegally for three nights, taken to Loliondo, and added to the rather demented espionage and sabotage charges, consisting of having communicated with me, which some of the accused sadly don’t even do. After several postponements, on 22 February 2017, the judge dismissed the case since it couldn’t go on forever and the prosecution had now had more than enough time to prepare something coherent. Then followed a very swift re-arrest and the victims of malicious prosecution must now report at Loliondo police station every Friday, while the Office of the Public Prosecutor continues its “investigation”. As a blogger, I’m a peripheral figure in all this, but my name is used to drum up fears about a “dangerous foreigner”.

I don’t know if the sheer craziness of the harassment is conceived to install more fear, or if it’s due to genuine deep stupidity. Maybe it’s a combination.

Manyerere Jackton didn’t publish anything during the arson attacks (an article appeared in print version only when I was about to publish this post on 29th August) and was maybe sitting down to contemplate the smouldering ashes, fear and panic, celebrating that the aim of his hate campaign of many years had apparently been achieved. Masyaga Matinyi who sometimes joins him, writing in the same style in the Mtanzania, and who also stood at the side of Minister Maghembe when he in March was demanding the alienation of the 1,500 km2, has written. In the article that’s meant to respond to lies about Loliondo he quotes the DC saying that the operation isn’t about removing people from the 1,500 km2, since the PM has not yet made his decision about that issue… at the same time as violent mass evictions and burning of bomas were taking place in that area, which the DC also says himself talking about 5 km into village land… Then he quotes Minister Maghembe who’s says people must leave the 1,500 km2 since it’s a “Game Reserve”, which is the big threat that the RC’s committee came up with a compromise proposal to avert, and about which the PM has not yet said anything… All three, Matinyi, DC and minister talk about NGOs spreading lies, when the NGOs have in fact been intimidated into silence.
Manyerere, Maghembe and Matinyi

From what I’ve now seen in photos of (now yesterday’s) article in the Jamhuri, Manyerere Jackton makes a big issue of the CCM secretary in Ngorongoro not agreeing with the evictions, and with the DC. The scandal would have been if CCM secretary supported the human rights crime, but unfortunately, it’s unclear if he has spoken up at all, and this “journalist” can make up just any lie. The article mostly seems like something written beforehand to defame everyone expected to speak up, but when absolutely everyone I ask is sad and angry about the silence of most leaders, it’s almost as if Manyerere is their PR-person … I do hope, and expect, that there will soon be a change. Manyerere has however totally revalued the DC, from making up crazy stories about him when he thought the was on the side of the people, to now when he’s participating in the human rights crime repeating his words as if were they the truth.

The leaders
What are leaders in Loliondo doing? “Not much at all”, is sadly the reply I get from most people I ask. They claim to have been caught by complete surprise, but are accused of having known without getting into action. There is a letter from the DC, dated 5th August, ordering the removal of livestock and housing from Serengeti National Park, and bordering areas. The second order does of course not have any legal ground at all and should have been taken to a court of law as soon as being received, whenever that was. The letter goes on about “illegal invaders from Kenya”, and then says that herders that haven’t moved from the park and “very near the boundary” (mpakani kabisa) “back to the villages” by 10th August will be removed by force. “Mpakani kabisa” is clearly a criminal threat, and then we have seen how it has also included bomas 9 kilometres from Serengeti National Park. The letter is directed to the ward councillors and Village Executive Officers of Piyaya, Arash, Maaloni, Oloipiri, Soitsambu, Olorien and Ololosokwan wards, and is copied to the RC, MP, TANAPA Director General, Serengeti Chief Conservator, District Executive Officer, National Security Officer, and Police Commander. The question is who got this letter, when and what was done about it.

The silence of Loliondo leaders during the human rights crime has been a big disappointment, with the exception of the Ololosokwan Ward Councillor, Yannick Ndoinyo, who has spoken up clearly and strongly in media, and so has also to some degree the Ololosokwan chairman Kerry Dokonyo. Yannick told one journalist“The government and its agencies should observe the rule of law and respect the village land,”.  “In fact, they have to apologize and compensate us for the loss incurred.”

Educated young people who could have taken on informal leadership have instead taken a step back to watch the self-destruction of the ruling party CCM in Ngorongoro District… Others are just very angry, disappointed and desperate. Update: on 1 September the law-student Babu ole Rotiken was arrested in Ololosokwan while holding a placard against the human rights crime, upon the arrival the Mwenge (Torch of Freedom national symbol) during its annual race. Babu was illegallt locked up for two nights before he was released. He still has to report to the police. 

The reaction, or lack of such, by the MP for Ngorongoro District, William Olenasha, known for great seriousness and integrity, is simply inexplicable. In social media on 14th August he said that he’s very sorry, that the he and other leaders were only aware of an operation to remove livestock from Serengeti National Park, haven’t been involved in anything else, that residing near the boundary isn’t against the law, and that they are doing all they can to stop the operation. Then he has appeared in media at the launch of a project to connect villages in Digodigo and Sale wards to the electric grid, with comments so frivolous - when his constituency is suffering a human right crime committed by those employed by the government of which he is a deputy minister (and still hasn’t resigned) - that he must have been misquoted. People have told the MP that they need their land to be safe, not electricity or tarmac roads, and he knows the priorities very well himself, since always, which makes his behaviour even more inexplicable. I still hope that the MP is somehow taking radical action behind the scenes …

It could have contributed to the confusion and inaction that the leaders have been led astray by a DC, Rashid Mfaume Taka, who unlike the usual kind is supposedly a gentleman and a scholar, and a young, friendly and confident RC, Mrisho Gambo. Now when the DC is deeply involved in the human rights crime and the RC is silent, they are confused. I must take some blame myself, since I’ve removed criticism of the RC from my blog after being told, “he’s our only ally”.

The friends of OBC continue saying that 30 NGOs are stirring things up in Loliondo. Only two NGOs, PWC and NGONET, used to speak up for land rights, but their directors/coordinators, Maanda Ngoitiko and Samwel Nangiria have been silent for a long time after suffering extreme harassment, and they were in the RC’s committee. Nobody of those I’ve asked knows what they are doing, but I hope - and believe - they are doing something.

Onesmo Olengurumwa of Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition is a case apart. He’s busy with human rights abuse all over the country, is from Loliondo but resides in Dar es Salaam, and has suffered harassment and threats, including illegal arrests and questioning of his nationality. Still, he has spoken up strongly and he early on sent out a request for intervention.

Today, 30th August Onesmo Olengurumwa together with some human rights defenders and community leaders (I’m yet to establish exactly who, but Kipilangat Kaura and Mushao Naing'isa from Ololosokwan, Pirius Maingo, Chadema special seats councillor from Oloipiri, and the village chairman of Arash, Molongo Sikoyo, were involved) submitted official complaints* to the government organ Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG). I hope there have been improvements in CHRAGG since 2009 when its performance was disastrous.
Update: on 4th September CHRAGG issued an interim order to stop the evictions, and demanded that the government explain the operation. This was communicated on the 5th.

One international organisation, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) has sent out an urgent alert about the evictions on 25 August.

On 7th September Survival International sent a letter to various Tanzanian authorities and international organisations. 

At least it seems like the leaders could be involved in preparing a court case, which is necessary, but far from enough.

I hope to soon be able to write about strong and loud action by leaders from Loliondo.

Who is responsible for this human rights crime?
Ngorongoro DC, Rashid Mfaume Taka, figures in black on white on formal documents ordering illegal evictions from village land per Village Land Act No.5 of 1999, but is hardly the main responsible for this crime.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Jumanne Maghembe, has campaigned for turning the 1,500 km2 into a protected area, thereby evicting the Maasai, and after the start of the evictions he has been lying, contradicting the statements from his own ministry, that the land would already be a “Game Reserve”.

In a letter written by one Ismail O. Ismail on behalf of the Chief Conservator of Serengeti National Park to DC Rashid Mfaume Taka on 4th August it’s revealed that the Ngorongoro Security Committee, headed by the DC, on 23 June 2017 ordered Serengeti National Park to plan the operation to remove livestock from the park, and from the boundary. The letter also informs the DC that the leadership of Tanzania National Parks Authority has agreed to fund the operation. Who shared this letter and why? Why would TANAPA fulfil the wishes of billionaires for free?

OBC participated in the illegal evictions of 2009, totally funded the rejected draft District Land Use Plan that proposed turning the 1,500 km2 into a protected area, and in November 2016 sent out a report about the necessity of this “protected area” that also is OBC’s core hunting area. OBC’s general manager in Tanzania is Isaack Mollel. The owner of OBC is supposed to be the businessman and Assistant Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence in the UAE, Lt. General Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Ali to whom the hunting blocks were granted in 1992 and who thereafter started OBC. Al Ali hasn’t been much mentioned in later years and OBC isn’t a “business corporation”. The main responsible for OBC would be Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of Dubai.

In March 2017 the Serengeti Chief Conservator, William Mwakilema, told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Tourism that 8 million euro from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the state owned German Development Bank (KfW), for a Serengeti Ecosystem Development and Conservation Project, were subject to the approval of the land use plan that would alienate the 1,500 km2 for a protected area. If Mwakilema was telling the truth, BMZ, KfW, and not least Frankfurt Zoological Society, without which they wouldn’t do anything, carry a lot of responsibility for the human rights crime.

Manyerere Jackton, the “journalist” who since 2010, in over 40 articles, has been conducting an extreme hate campaign against the Maasai of Loliondo, viciously defaming many people, and calling for the 1,500 km2 to be turned into a “protected area”, should have been taken to court long ago.

Those in Loliondo who while benefitting from the “investors” that threaten land rights and insulting those that speak up, expect the same people to defend the land, are maybe the worst of all.

The victims must be helped and the perpetrators punished. All information and ideas are more than welcome.
Meeting the RC in Ololosokwan 17 March

Susanna Nordlund


Human Rights Defenders and Community Leaders from Loliondo Division-Ngorongoro District in Arusha Region have filed their complaint with the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance regarding the ongoing eviction and burning of settlements. They urged the Commission to do the following:

1. The Commission should urge the government to immediately stop the eviction of people in the disputed areas since the effects of the exercise are irreparable.

2. The Minister of Tourism and Natural Resources, Police Force and other leaders should stop intimidating human rights defenders who have appeared to defend the pastoralists because it has been witnessed recently that they have been warning Human Rights Defenders not to persuade the people in Loliondo to claim for their rights.

3. The Commission should go to the scene and conduct an investigation into the crisis and take action against the ongoing human rights violations in Loliondo.

4. The Commission should collaborate with other Human Rights Defenders to file a claim in the Court of Law to claim the right to own land that has been violated against people in Loliondo.

The representatives from Loliondo thanked the Commission and also they expressed their hope about the positive action that the Commission would take to rescue the situation.

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