Human rights activists have continued to denounce as inhumane and unethical the forced removal of Maasai off their traditional lands. This after the promulgation of a new planned game reserve that would take up 1500kms of land inhabited by Maasai, of a total of 4000kms that was already allocated to the nationality, which would leave about 70 000 Maasai displaced from their traditional lands. The land the Maasai live on, as part of the Ngorongoro
Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “We are here and we are tired. We ran away, the three of us and were ambushed by the military- I can say it was the military. They got out of their vehicles and started beating us. I personally tried to plead with them: My fellow Tanzanians, do not kill us. Why are you killing us? This land belongs to our grandparents,” lamented a Maasai leader facing eviction from his home. https://www.africanews.com/2022/06/17/footage-shows-maasai-being-forcefully-evicted-from-their-lands//
Allegations have been leveled against the Tanzanian government, that they have been using bribes and coercion to try and convince councilors and traditional leaders to support the relocation efforts from Ngorongoro to Msomero region. The bribes have been doled out by the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority (NCAA), together with the conservation director and Arusha regional Commissioner. The councilors and traditional leaders have been given a pledge to be paid a pension of 10 million shillings (R70 000) immediately on acceptance of moving, so they receive their lifetime allotment as a lump sum instead of a part of a regular disbursement. The money however is apparently dependent on the actual moving of the people under their authority, and so they have an incentive to move people briskly. https://www.thesheel.com/tanzania-usa-collusion-maasai-eviction/ .
On 17 June 2022 the government advanced plans to evict the Maasai off their land and hand it over to Dubai based Ortello Business Corporation (OBC), by declaring it as a “Game Controlled Area”, and naming it the Pololeti Game Controlled Area. By law, a game controlled area can only be proclaimed in uninhabited places. According to reports received, since the proclamation, the Maasai are being forcefully evicted from the Loliondo area, and are being forced by soldiers to burn down their own houses, to obliterate any evidence of the area having been inhabited. A local source in Loliondo sent the following eye witness account:
“Good morning from here. During the recent discussions in our parliament, when the government through its minister of tourism was expressing its plans to start new Game controlled areas, the main reason was that these areas have no people living in it. That they are uninhabited. For anyone who knows Loliondo disputed area, this statement has zero truth.
I am providing you with the updates of the eviction exercise going-on in loliondo with great secrecy but horror and brutality.
On the western part of the now official gazetted “Pololeti Game control Area”, Area A consisting of 1052km², (see the map from the government gazette)
All the people living in the area with their livestock are being evicted with helicopter hovering along the whole area giving them Saturday ultimatum to move out of the area. Thousands of livestock and people have been moved out of the area into the east with poor grazing land and little to no water sources. There is great desperation. ( I do not have the exact numbers). It is only a matter of time before these large herds of livestock will start experiencing hunger and death. People depend on them for their livelihood.
On the eastern part of of Pololet Game Control Area, Area B consisting of 450km² eviction exercise is continuing piecemeal. In Malambo village, in sanjan village-subsection (kitongoji), eviction figures are as follows;
1) there are 81 evicted Manyattas (bomas). One manyatta or Boma consists of several different families living in one big kraal enclosure.
2) evicted families from these 81 Manyattas are 450.
3) the evicted Individuals from the 450 families are 1982.
4) there are 2 Kindergartens in this area.
5) there are 43 semi-modern houses with corrugated iron sheets in this subvillage.
6) the infrastructure in this part of the village are; 2 water tanks, one chapel and two self-made water ponds. People who are leaving their manyattas are told to set them on fire. They have not done it of course.
The eviction exercise is moving east along the beaconed area into the next part of the village known as Ndinyika.
The frustration and the pain of the people is unprecedented”.
The photos below show Maasai evicted from Loliondo being driven into the desert.