Police in Ngorongoro Summon Maasai Leaders Speaking Against ‘Eviction’ Threat

It is not clear why the police are interested in the leaders but the news comes at a time when there is a tug-of-war between Maasai people and authorities over Ngorongoro.
The Chanzo Reporter6 May 20222 min

Dar es Salaam. Police in the Ngorongoro district of Arusha have summoned two Maasai leaders from Loliondo, a town in northern Ngorongoro, who have been speaking out against the government’s plan to evict Maasai people from their ancestral land.

According to summons letters that have been leaked to the public, the two leaders – Laigwanani Simon Ndare and village chairperson Moitiko Risanda, both from Malambo, a village within Loliondo – have been ordered to report to the Loliondo Police Post today, Friday, May 6, 2022.

The letters do not state why the leaders have been summoned apart from noting that they should report to the police for investigation.

Joseph Moses Oleshangay, an activist who has written extensively about the fate of Maasai of Ngorongoro, told The Chanzo on Friday that nobody knows exactly what the two leaders have done that attracted the police’s summons.

“There are unconfirmed reports that they tried to prevent authorities from planting beacons in their land,” said Oleshangay. “But this is not a new phenomenon. Maasai leaders always risk being summoned by the police every time they say anything in opposing the government’s plan to evict their people.”

The Maasai people of Ngorongoro are fighting for their right to remain in their ancestral land as the government is trying to evict them, arguing that their continued existence there puts the UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage site at high risk of losing its status.

The government said on March 11, 2022, that it has designated an area in the Handeni district of the Tanga region where the Maasai people who will willingly agree to move from Ngorongoro will be provided with the land there for housing and animal feed.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said then that a total of 86 households, with over 453 people, have registered themselves, ready to move from Ngorongoro to Handeni. But activists faulted this, pointing out that the government had taken the names of people not living within the contested area.

This, however, did not stop the government from transferring projects funded by the COVID-19 recovery fund from Ngorongoro to Handeni. The government has ordered headmasters of schools located within Ngorongoro to transfer a total of Sh355,000,000 from their accounts to the account of the Handeni district.

The Chanzo Reporter

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