Residents of Loliondo and Sale divisions, along the northern borderline with Kenya, said in interviews last week that the presidential decree on villages mapped around game reserves and national parks will settle all their claims.
The order that such villages should not be disturbed, even where parts of their precincts may slightly transcend village land and into reserves’ boundaries is having ripples in Loliondo as in other places.
Speaking during a rally held at Loosoito Village in Maaloni Ward, hundreds of Sale and Loliondo divisions’ residents were of the view that even the long-reigning conflicts between herders and farmers, natives and investors will come to an end.
The catalyst behind the problem was limited land and fear of impending evictions, some of them affirmed.
Special Seats Councillor for Sale Division, Kijoolu Kakeya, said residents in the two divisions have been living in stressful uncertainty for six decades.
They were always waking up to threats of forced removals, cattle confiscation and court summons related to issues of ‘trespassing’ into game reserves.
“There have been so many statements both negative and positive, but eventually it all boiled down to the fact that native residents, their villages and livestock were unwanted elements in this part of the country,” said Kakeya, noting that at last with the president’s order, people can finally ‘sleep without nightmares.’
Traditional elder Justin Nokoron, the Piyaya ritual headman (laigwanan), asked local leaders to ensure that the presidential directives are executed to the last word. “We do not want to experience previous instances of officials breaching government orders,” he declared.
According to Laigwanan Nokoron, there was a time when former Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda visited Loliondo and directed that border demarcations aimed at robbing residents their land should be halted, but local officials ignored him.
Tabling a statement from the Pastoral Communities in Loliondo, the Ngorongoro District Council chairman, Mathew Siloma said in the past the 54,000 residents, with over 784,000 livestock between them, were squeezed into a tiny 116 square kilometres of land, which was basis for regular conflicts related to the scramble for land and water sources.
“This same piece of land was also expected to cater for health services, schools, residences, trading activities and an airstrip,” pointed out Siloma, underlining that it was nothing short of a miracle to have all these activities bundled into a tiny space without violence breaking out.