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The Chanzo Morning Briefing – July 8, 2022.

In our briefing today: Maasai people sue Tanzania at EACJ over ‘forceful eviction’ attempts from Ngorongoro; World Kiswahili Day: Tanzania launches ten-year strategic plan to promote Kiswahili; Tanzania's oil import costs Rose 73pc in year to May.

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

Maasai people sue Tanzania at EACJ over ‘forceful eviction’ attempts from Ngorongoro

A representative suit was filed at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) by members of the Ngorongoro Maasai community in an attempt to force the government of Tanzania to respect their right to property, right to life and livelihood and cultural and spiritual rights by abandoning its plan to “forcefully evict” them from their “ancestral land” of Ngorongoro.

A representative suit is a suit that is filed by one or more persons on behalf of themselves and others having the same interest in the suit. In this case, the suit was filed by Mr Thadeus Clamian, a Tanzanian national of Maasai origin.

The news of the suit comes at a time when authorities are determined to move the remaining people from Ngorongoro to the designated area of Msomera, a village within the district of Handeni, Tanga region.

The government says the exercise is a voluntary one and a family “relocating” to Msomera is paid compensation for the house that is being left; a three-bedroom modern house that has been constructed by the government; mattresses and other important domestic equipment.

As of June 9, 2022, about 293 households with 1,497 persons had already registered for the “voluntary relocation,” Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told the parliament on June 30, 2022, when moving a motion to postpone the parliamentary budget session.

But in the suit the native people of Ngorongoro have slammed the exercise as “forceful,” citing the lack of participation of the local communities as well as the transferring of development projects from Ngorongoro to Handeni.

In their suit against Tanzania’s Attorney General, the Maasai people explain that Ngorongoro is their “only home, seasonal and cyclic use for their livelihoods, cultural and spiritual purposes.”

They say their ancestors from time immemorial have used Ngorongoro to lead a pastoral way of life, using the available natural resources, taking care of their cattle and the area of land to practice a nomadic lifestyle, living in balance with nature “without breaching any of the provisions of environmental law.”

The government’s “relocation” exercise is based on the argument that increased human and pastoral activities within Ngorongoro risk destroying the UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site, seeing moving people from the land as the only way to prevent that from happening.

The government also says that the exercise will serve the best interests of the Maasai by ensuring that they no longer risk their own lives by living side-by-side with wild animals that conservationists have claimed of being responsible for a number of fatalities.

But the Maasai, in their EACJ suit, claim that these arguments fail to convince them to get out of the land that they have for centuries used to practice cultural and religious activities, including rites of passage ceremonies and communicate to their God.

Contested here is a land measuring 8,292 square kilometres, named the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), situated in the district of Ngorongoro, Arusha region, northern Tanzania.

World Kiswahili Day: Tanzania launches ten-year strategic plan to promote Kiswahili

Vice President Philip Mpango on Thursday launched a ten-year strategic plan by the government that aims at ensuring that Tanzania benefits more from Kiswahili, the language that is exponentially growing worldwide.

VP Mpango launched the strategy as part of this year’s commemoration of World Kiswahili Day, a UNESCO-appointed day in November 2021 as part of the world’s efforts to promote the use of language used as a lingua franca in eastern, central and southern Africa.

The 2022-2032 plan, among other things, targets to establish a database of all registered Kiswahili language experts as well as train people on how to take advantage of opportunities brought by language marketing.

It also targets to connect Tanzanians with Kiswahili language experts to land various job opportunities offered outside the country.

During the celebrations for the World Kiswahili Day that at the national level took place at the Julius Nyerere Convention Centre (JNCC) in Dar es Salaam, Dr Mpango directed ministries and public institutions and locals to ensure that all road names, streets, drug details and all contracts are written in fluent and standardized Kiswahili language to simplify communication.

“To continue to promote the proper use of the Kiswahili language in the country and in the world, ministries and government institutions should continue to implement existing government directives,” emphasized Dr Mpango.

He also directed the ministries to prefer the usage of Kiswahili in sharing information regarding ongoing public projects at various places in the country.

“The aim is to enable citizens to understand everything that is important in the well-being of their lives,” Mr Mpango said.

Tanzania’s oil import costs rose 73pc in year to May

Tanzania’s oil import costs rose by 73 percent to $2.33 billion in the 12 months to May, compared with $1.35 billion in the prior-year period, due to an increase in volumes and higher prices, the Bank of Tanzania said Thursday.

“It is noteworthy that the war in Ukraine exacerbated significantly the increase in oil price,” the bank said in its June economic review.

In the year to May, Tanzania’s pump prices for petrol, diesel and kerosene rose by 43.2 per cent, 55.8 per cent and 44.4 per cent, respectively, compared with the prior-year period.

“The increase in prices of petroleum products, as in many countries, is mainly due to rising oil prices in the world market prompted by limited supply, which is associated with residual effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine fallout,” the bank said.

Tanzania’s pump prices have been rising since June 2020, the bank said.

The average price of crude oil in the global market rose by 70per cent during the reviewed period, it said.

“The high prices of oil and agricultural products, in particular, were due to global demand recovery and supply shortage largely caused by geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe,” the bank said.

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