CCM MPs divided over the Ngorongoro saga

CCM MPs divided over the Ngorongoro saga

As the debate about relocating the Maasai who have lived on the valleys of the mighty Ngorongoro for over five decades ago continues, the saga has been getting more controversial as days kick ahead.

After an intense debate over an issue at the Parliament in the country’s capital, Dodoma, the saga ended dividing the MP’s into two factions; the pro- relocation of the Maasai from Ngorongoro (NCAA) and those against the idea.

After a stalemate debate by the two opposing factions during the MP’s seminar that NCAA organized through the Prime Minister’s directives, the MP’s urged the newly elected speaker, Dr Tulia Akson, to form an independent commission inquiry on Ngorongoro to come up with convincing recommendations over the matter.

Special seats MP, Hon. Riziki Lukinda, who happened to serve as a member of the permanent committee of land and natural resources in the Parliament, revealed some shocking revelations of her experience while serving as a committee member.

Hon. Riziki said that the committee once found hotels construction near the crater and had them halt the construction. Again, she added, “Not only there are permanent properties of the Maasai, but also the park hosts houses of the former NCAA workers whom despite being issued to demolish their properties, they exist to date”.

Hon. Riziki also raised more questions on legal grounds of NCAA retirees properties within the park. “This country is vast; people can be relocated to different areas”, said Hon. Ezra Chilewesa, the northern Biharamulo MP when contributed to the matter.

Hon. Ezra said there are wards with a single village within Ngorongoro; surprisingly, the government allocates 35 billion Tsh. budget for them every year, and provides them with every infrastructure like schools, yet their children do not go to school. He added.

Also, special seat MP & a member of the permanent committee of land and tourism in the Parliament, Hon Hawa Bananga said that they encountered intimidation from the Maasai on their arrival at the park that they would have been injured if they had said anything different to indigenous wishes.

“It is high time the government should take drastic measures to rescue Ngorongoro, cattle are feeding on roots of the very scarce and rare vegetation, and we have been approached too by some who are ready to leave even today but restrained by those benefitting from living in there”. She added.

Special seat MP Said Mwakagenda said few people who own cattle in NCAA emphasize others to defy the order of leaving the park. She then said, “All children must go to school, but children there do not go to school, instead graze the cattle, only a few benefitting from living in the park, their children are studying abroad, and referred abroad for treatment”.

Kiteto MP Edward Ole Kaita urged the government to go back on the drawing board and see if the law specifies the population eligible to live in the park. The park is world-renowned for hosting people and animals, respectively.

He said, “Most of you speak on the negative impacts on Ngorongoro, but none of you has spoken how much good those people have done for the park, you have left people to build houses and other permanent buildings there, today you ask about their existence, who issued a permit”? He asked.

Special seat MP, Asha Abdallah Juma, urged the government to immediately present a bill to amend NCAA law before the situation gets worse of losing the park to extinction.

Simanjiro MP, Christopher Ole Sendeka, said, “No one is against the fact that Ngorongoro is crowding, but also none questions about the hotels and camping sites in Ngorongoro that fetch water from the crater”.

He added, “I strongly disagree with the parliament to decide Maasai’s fate in Ngorongoro; instead, I urge the parliament to form an independent committee and visit Ngorongoro and come up with answers as to why there are NCAA retirees residents at the park and what measures were taken against them, we need to protect human rights at any cost”. He said.

Ngorongoro MP Emmanuel Oleshangai said, “The government must talk to the Maasai, and not send them milliary tanks. There are hotels in Ngorongoro that fetch our water from the crater; should you vacate the Maasai, we should get rid of these hotels too”.

An intense debate ended in apparent impasses, with no clear resolution of whether the Maasai should remain or leave the park. Reports say that today, Prime Minister Hon Kassim Majaliwa will hold a meeting at Ngorongoro with traditional leaders, ward offices, and cattle keepers to discuss the matter. As much remains under the rug, we hope the panel has a lot to unfold that could pave the way toward the win-win decision over the issue.