Maasai to Lose Ancestral Land to Trophy Hunting Park

The Maasai are in danger of being kicked off their land again. The Tanzanian government has ordered them to get their affairs in order and relocate by the end of the year. Why are they doing this? So that a Dubai-based hunting and game company called Ortelo Business Corporation (with ties to the royal family) can build a hunting reserve.

It is almost the perfect injustice in a country where the main tourist economy relies on both the presence of wild animals and indigenous cultures. Yet the Tanzanian government seems to have gotten a substantial enough sum to settle it up for the short term.

Last year when this story was leaked there were petitions and protests which led to the Tanzanian government backing out of the deal. Yet sources are now saying that the deal was never ‘off’. Rather, it was merely put on hold for a few months so that the ruckus would settle down and activists would lose interest.

So just how many people are being evicted? Well, about 40,000 Maasai are slated to be removed. Land has a significance in many East African culture that cannot be overstated. Because it is inherited from family member to family member there is a sacredness imbued in it. It’s not just a home, it hold the keys to the past, informs the current way of life, and gives hope for the future.

Samwel Nangira, a member of local civil society, told The Guardian as much, “One billion is very little and you cannot compare that with land. It’s inherited. Their mothers and grandmothers are buried in that land. There’s nothing you can compare with it.”

Tanzania is the only country in East Africa where trophy hunting is legal. Kenya and Uganda both banned the practice in the late 1970s due to corruption and overshooting. And although Tanzania has a lot of wildlife to choose from, the reality is, numbers of elephants and other commonly poached animals have dwindled incredibly since the recent Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete was elected.

Even worse, many note the exploitation of the Maasai as a common feature in the Tanzanian tourist trade. People hop in Land Rovers and roll out onto the Serengeti to see these ancient tribes people. For a bit of money, they often put on a show for tourists, jumping around and singing. They are one of the most easily accessible and most photographed indigenous tribes in East Africa. Oftentimes when I’m talking to someone and they are describing a ‘typical African tribesman’  more often than not they are describing the Maasai.

Last time petitions and protests helped stave off this sale between the Ortelo Business Corporation  and the Tanzanian government. Although it remains to be seen if it can happen again, the Maasai who are there now refuse to give up. Because of this, there are concerns that ethnic clashes may begin by the end of the year.

Evictions in East Africa have always been known to breed violence but a move on this scale, which takes 40,000 people from their homes, is bound to end up in bloodshed. It’s a scary thought that’s left many wondering if clashes between the government, the tribe and the corporation will be a fixture in the future.

 

215 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Adrea Craft
Adrea Craft4 years ago

I am always amazed at just how much human beings suck. Especially the majority of wealthy humans.

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JOSE HONRADO
JOSE honrado4 years ago

Noted.

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Manuela C.
Manuela C4 years ago

Shame on them! I always found Tanzania a beautiful country, but with these "ways", I'll never visit!!!

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silja salonen
silja s4 years ago

Oil rich playboys with guns larger than their manhood ...
Needing to play with their toys

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Apotanzania Apotanzania

Official Statement form The United Republic of Tanzania/ https://appablog.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/tanzania-refute-claims-to-evict-40000-maasai-from-their-land-in-ngo

Tanzania refute claims to evict 40,000 Maasai from their land in Ngorongoro

The government of United Republic of Tanzania has never had any plan to evict the Maasai people from their ancestral land

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, November 28, 2014/ -- The government of United Republic of Tanzania has never had any plan to evict the Maasai people from their ancestral land as falsely reported by the media in recent days. The information circulated through the media outlets globally was misleading, malicious and meant to tarnish the image of our country and her international standing.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/tanztour.png

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1586

The Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism (http://www.mnrt.go.tz), Hon. Lazaro Nyalandu said that the claims that 40,000 Maasai were being evicted are false unfounded and baseless. The argument that the land in question is being sold to a wealthy Middle Eastern family are a total fabrication and in contrary to the Tanzanian law.

Members of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Land, Natural Resource, and Environment are due to visit the Loliondo area to bear witness to the government position and speak directly to the Maasai people. The Minister, Lazaro Nyalandu will

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Sylvia M.
Sylvia M4 years ago

Oh, excuse me and I need to add. Wildlife which crosses borders, unaware of political subdivision, needs constant protection and certainly Kenya and Uganda should step up pressure on Tanzania. For once this starts, it will be an unfortunate game of dominoes.

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Sylvia M.
Sylvia M4 years ago

To Frank K.
Thank you for further information. But are you saying that the Tanzanian government is then NOT going to allow the development of resort properties? Seems to me it would be easier to legislate controls on internal peoples, animal birth control, etc., than to get involved with...who was it? Dubai? And all their millions and overriding concern for only chasing capitalist ideals to the extreme. Concrete jungles, rising to the sky.
Let Tanzania manage its farmers and agricultural lands better. That is a solution.

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Frank Kling
Frank Kling4 years ago

**************************DO NOT SIGN THIS PETITION**********************************

This story is MISLEADING!!!!!! The Maasai's practice of rearing as many cattle as possible, since their monetary system is based on the number of cattle owned, is destroying the natural environment, and the extinction of species (most recently the White rhino. was officially declared extinct). Yes, I realize my comment is politically incorrect, but the truth must be known.

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Frank Kling
Frank Kling4 years ago

This story is MISLEADING!!!!!! The Maasai's practice of rearing as many cattle as possible, since their monetary system is based on the number of cattle owned, is destroying the natural environment, and the extinction of species (most recently the White rhino. was officially declared extinct). Yes, I realize my comment is politically incorrect, but the truth must be known.

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