Demolition listing: Chaos erupts in Dar’s Mkwajuni

12Jan 2016
Devota Mwachang'a
The Guardian
Demolition listing: Chaos erupts in Dar’s Mkwajuni

FOLLOWING the government’s suspension of the demolition operation and the directive that an inventory of victims be prepared, there was chaos yesterday as officials from the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) differed with local leaders on who should be on the list.

Mkwajuni area under demolition

As hundreds wanted to be included on the list in the hope of humanitarian aid or possible resettlement, local leaders objected the registration exercise by the NEMC officials, saying the council officials were listing the people they had found at the scene while it was local leaders who knew who lived in the affected areas even before the demolition.
“We local leaders are the ones who know the people who lived in these areas before the houses were demolished and should have been consulted in preparing the list,” said Elizabeth Massawe, Street chair for Kawawa, Kinondoni District.
She expressed worries that it was very likely for NEMC to list persons if local leaders were not fully involved in the identification and listing of the victims.
Mkunguni B chair Fatuma Bakari maintained that the exercise would lead to chaos and maintained that as local leaders they would not approve any list prepared by NEMC without their involvement.
As the leaders protested, NEMC officials who were surrounded by people who wanted to be registered continued with the exercise and declined to speak to the media.
Rajab Shomari who was born in a house at the Mkwajuni valley in 1983 which was inherited had since been turned into rubble. He complained about the government statement that victims with house ownership documents present them to authorities, saying such a call was not well meant as many like him had no any legal documents.
The demolition operation which began last month has created a lot of tension in the city with hundreds left to spend nights in the cold.

Last week, Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Meck Sadiki warned against the grabbing of farms or plots by homeless victims on the pretext that the land in question had stood undeveloped for too long, “as that would amount to breaking the law and therefore all culprits will face the full wrath of the law”.

He said thousands of Dar es Salaam residents were now illegally grabbing farms and plots just because they had been evicted from their residences in flood-prone and other unauthorised areas, including forests.

“Those invading land are committing a crime and are supposed to respect procedures or risk court action,” said the RC, adding: “It is mainly for public safety reasons that the government has begun throwing out all those who have invaded open spaces or variously developing restricted areas such as flood-prone areas.”

He said the government would no longer entertain excuses for people to invade and create unplanned settlements, elaborating: “Technically, there is no idle land or forest. All the areas invaded are legally registered for uses that are well documented, complete with the people or institutions in whose names the land is registered.”

A least 2,000 people are said to have invaded a forest in Dar es Salaam’s Boko suburb legally owned by a businessman on the grounds that the area has never been developed, contrary to the President John Magufuli’s directives.
According to reports, the alleged intruders say they are concerned seeing the land for decades left idle and turning into hideouts for muggers and armed robbers.

Other incidents of the kind have been reported in the city’s Mabwepande suburb – involving a 300-hectare chunk of land belonging to former Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye.

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