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Lawmaker Accuses Govt of Depriving People of Ngorongoro of Basic Social Services

Ngorongoro MP (CCM) Emmanuel Oleshangay questions the government’s claim that the relocation exercise is voluntary, demanding authorities explain why they cut essential social services if that is the case.

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Dar es Salaam. Ngorongoro MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM) Emmanuel Oleshangay on Monday accused the government of depriving people living in the UNESCO-inscribed world heritage site of basic social services, rendering the government’s rhetorics that the ongoing relocation exercise is voluntary as “hollow.”

Contributing to budget estimates proposed by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa for the 2024/2025 financial year, Mr Oleshangay, an Indigenous Maasai from Ngorongoro, said that over 180,000 residents have been living under difficult circumstances since 2022 when authorities launched the so-called voluntary relocation.

In the exercise, which the government has repeatedly claimed to be voluntary, an estimated 7,000 residents of Ngorongoro have been transferred to Msomera village in Tanga as part of authorities’ attempt to reduce the population there to achieve proper conservation of the area.

But Mr Oleshangay questioned the veracity of the government’s voluntary claims since the start of the controversial exercise, arguing that how can the exercise be voluntary if those who choose to remain are subjected to a life-threatening cut of basic social services?

READ MORE: Alarm Raised on Safety of Human Rights Activist Joseph Moses Oleshangay

“In the Ngorongoro sub-division, there are 27 primary schools, but no school is allowed to construct or renovate a toilet,” Mr Oleshangy revealed. “I can even share the photos of toilets students go to help themselves. Students and their teachers are forced to go to the bushes to help themselves. Why are we doing this?”

“Every citizen is entitled to basic social services within Tanzania,” he continued. “The relocation from Ngorongoro is a voluntary exercise. Prime Minister [Kassim Majaliwa] went [to Ngorongoro] to speak with residents on February 14, 2022, and he said the exercise is voluntary. How come then we put development restrictions on those who choose to remain?”

Mr Oleshangay gave the Endulen Primary School as an example. The school hosts boarding students and has its students fetch water from nearby rivers because authorities have stopped providing the school with water service, threatening to expose children to several waterborne diseases.

“Why are we putting all these restrictions on people if the relocation is truly voluntary?” asked Mr Oleshangay. “Why not continue providing social services, and people make their own decisions about whether they want to leave or remain?”

READ MORE: Maasai People From Ngorongoro Yearn for Rights Their Fellow Tanzanians Enjoy

Mr Oleshangay wanted the government to explain its plans for people who chose to remain in Ngorongoro, demanding that Mr Majaliwa prepare the answers while he is expected to respond to MPs’ issues raised during the debate.

“Because it is unacceptable that people have been without basic social services for three years,” the lawmaker added. “Why are we doing all these to citizens? What mistakes have these citizens committed?”

He said people living in Ngorongoro have not broken any law, noting that their presence in the area is in accordance with the laws. He demanded that authorities cease their arbitrary actions and allow people to live peacefully.

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