After the declaration of the Maasai land at Loliondo as a “Game Controlled Area”, the Tanzanian authorities wasted no time in evicting the Maasai and their cattle. There are now fears of famine and starvation. The eye witness report below comes from a community member, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of his safety:
“The latest news about the demarcated area of the “Pololet Game Controlled Area”, Area B with an area of 450Km² which covers the village of Malambo in Sale division. After the demarcation of this area, villagers are prohibited to graze their livestock in this area. But this is the best area with grass for their livestock. People do not have an alternative but continued to graze them in this land. So today, there is a new development. The solders have confiscated the livestock of the villagers and raided them into their big camp which they have prepared where they have camped. About 910 sheep and goats and several hundred cows have been confiscated today. The owners of these livestock are demanded by soldiers to pay heavy fines for the release of their livestock. One sheep or goat per each head costs TZS 20,000/= (About US$ 9) to be released. And one cow costs per one head TZS 100,000/= (About US$ 47/=) to be released to their owners. This is how the soldiers enrich themselves and whoever who gave them this authority. The crisis is here fourfold:
First. The owners have no cash. This means continued holding of their livestock, which are kept (jailed) in an enclosure without grazing or watering them. This leads to poor health condition of these cows and sheep. The longer it takes so the deteriorating health condition they will face. This habit is not new, normally cows which stray into Serengeti national park are subjected into similar penalties. Livestock become week depending on the days they stay in jail and finally die.
Second: Because these livestock are captured at daytime, they were separated from calves, or kids. So from today onwards, until the release of those cows, goats and sheep, their calves and kids will not suckle and therefore possible death.
Third: For the owners of these livestock, who depend on them for milk for their children and family, this means, there is forced hunger on these communities.
Fourth: In case these livestock are released today after paying fine, the villagers do not have an alternative but to take them back to the same place where there is grass. The remaining small area of the congested village is already desert-like.
A cycle of incarceration of animals, paying for their ransom, or letting them die, hunger and untold human suffering has begun in the new Pololet Game Controlled area. No media here dares to tell these injustices and inhumane conditions.”