When shall govt start dishing out food to Ngorongoro dwellers

09Feb 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
When shall govt start dishing out food to Ngorongoro dwellers

Ngorongoro District is the richest in Tanzania and perhaps in the rest of east and central Africa in terms of economic resources.

Maasai herders look after their cattle on the hills of Ngorongoro where they are not allowed to practice farming for reasons that have to do with conservation. However, the food handouts they depend on from government have not often been forthcoming.

However it is unimaginable that despite this richness, its dwellers, who are largely pastoralist-farmers, can go without food for months largely because of matters pertaining to policies.

The district has all the wild animals in the world one can think of and boasts of beautiful sceneries of the only global annually wildebeest migrations besides human beings living with both wild and tamed animals harmoniously together.

All these spectacular natural features are a boon to the district which is also home to the Wonders of the Modern World, according to US magazine and radio station, but also a resource curse in that sometimes its residents go without food- for months.

Julius Mungaya Laizer, who is a presenter and producer at Orkonerei Radio Service based in Arusha City undertook to do research on why this situation so often recurs in the district and compiled his broadcast report towards the end of last year.

Initiatives taken by the reporter included starting the research work even before the Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) chipped in to sponsor his project.

He did this by interviewing both people and leaders in the three wards of Enduleni, Nainokonoka and Misigiyo within the district.

The residents included one Naini, a resident of Naiyobi, Nemris a resident of Naiyobi, Enduleni resident Sinyati and Orbal Bal resident, who is also a graduate of Makerere University, Edward Nakuruoi.

And the leaders were Misigiyo Ward Councillor Daniel Lormujie.
Maasai traditional leader Tate Oltururu of Nainoka Noka,Ngorongoro Chief Conservator Dr Kuya Lesayalel and Enduleni chairman Godfrey Lelya.

Others were the chairman of the Ngorongoro Patoralists Council, councilors and the Doctor in charge at Enduleni Hospital.

Others more were Arusha Regional Commissioner Mrisho Gambo, the Regional Administrative Secretary, Richard Kwitega and the leader of the Pastoralists Women Community (PWC), Maanda Ngoitiko, who represents the NGOs assisting by providing food aid to the hungry dwellers.

Explaining the situation, both the leaders and residents said that sometimes the dishing out of food could be delayed for well over ten months even though the understanding in 2008 was that food- maize and oil - should be provided every month.

After discovering that people could go up to ten months without food, they decided that steps had to be taken, according to the reporter’s work.

The reporter then took their complaints to Idea FM Radio in which he aired four programmes. The same were also aired on BBC’s Dira ya Dunia for 3.5 minutes whereby the reasons why residents of the richest district in the region were suffering from hunger were explained.
Did the work create any impact to the policy makers, wananchi?

Yes. If there is a work in the TMF funded projects which had a direct impact on decision making by the policy makers, Laizer’s was one.

The government hurriedly inked a food contract with the National Food Restoring Agency (NFRA) and since the report was aired in September 2016 todate, the residents have received food twice from the government, according to the TMF verifying team.

Even though, there have been a number of challenges faced. These included threats, arrests of the reporter and lack of cooperation from the residents who often feared for their lives.

The team also discovered that the leaders had poor cooperation, distanced themselves and most often it became very costly in terms of money and time for the reporter to discharge his duties.

At times, the reporter had to spend up to 300,000/- for travels and research only to be told that the person he had an appointment with had suddenly left.

According to interviewee Edward Maura, who chairs the Ngorongoro Pastoralists Council,and also doubles as Enokanoka ward councilor and the district council chairman, previously the situation was very bad.

Initially there was no maize, the great barrier being the authorities at the top - particularly the politicians, he told the team.

The other impacts are that at least things are better now compared to the past, since a consignment of maize has already been brought, according to him.

For his part, Daniel Lormujie, who is the councilor for Misigiyo only summarized the situation this way: “After coming as he came in summer, when he left, we managed to get maize. One good thing is that it came during the time we were having hunger.”

”However, maize is now expensive, a four gallons unit is sold at 15000/-. Through the contract with the National Food Restoring Agency there is now hope that maize will come, contrary to the situation in the recent past; but for now maize is still a problem,” he said.

And as for Endoleni Hospital Doctor In Charge Joyce Memiri,the impact of Laizer’s works is that they have helped to alleviate the food shortage, but the situation is still bad.

Memiri said today it is even hard for livestock to get enough pastures.The puzzle therefore still lingers, when shall the residents of Ngorongoro get food dished out by the government sustainably after the latter denied them the right to practice farming in the area after declaring it a conservated district?

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