Urgent Alert: Threats of forced eviction of the Maasai indigenous pastoralists of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and Ngorongoro District in Tanzania
The Maasai indigenous pastoralists of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and Ngorongoro District in Northern Tanzania are currently under severe threat of forced eviction. According to reliable information received by IWGIA, the situation is very serious and there is panic among the people after they have become aware of the eminent threats of being forcefully evicted from their ancestral land.
According to information received by IWGIA, the Tanzanian government is preparing to implement a new Multiple Land Use Model (MLUM) in the NCA. The current MLUM proposal has evolved from what at that time was known as the District Land Use Plan developed by the Land Use Planning Commission. In 2011, following a district wide consultation process, the Ngorongoro District Council publicly rejected this plan as being infeasible, as well as being illegal having been developed without due process required by law. This plan, presented again in the current MLUM, proposes annexing the whole of the Lake Natron Basin (currently a Ramsar site) as well as 1,500km2 of land adjoining the Serengeti National Park, an area which has been leased to Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC), a company specializing in providing wildlife hunting trips for royals from the United Arab Emirates. Under the MLUM, these areas will be administered by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA). These areas, as well as several large areas currently within the NCA, are to be designated as ‘core conservation areas’. All people from the many registered villages within these designated areas are to be evicted, and grazing will not be permitted, while tourist and hunting activities will be enhanced. The MLUM plan is promoted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) and NCAA, as well as by several politicians, and is due to be implemented this year.
In January 2022, rangers attempted to demarcate the areas from which people are to be evicted, but had to give up due to strong resistance from local people. Several high standing government officials have been to the Ngorongoro District, and the Regional Commissioner has informed the district council that government intends to evict people from their village lands in the Loliondo area. This is despite the fact that the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has issued a stop order on further government activity in the area, pending a judgement on the case (raised by four villages against the government).
Coupled with the ongoing high profile eviction plans for the NCA, people in the whole of Ngorongoro District are deeply affected and stressed by the planned evictions, which would imply evictions of thousands of mostly indigenous Maasai pastoralists in the NCA and Ngorongoro District at large.
As the government prepares to implement plans in both NCA and in the Ngorongoro District at large, communities have been working relentlessly to build collective solidarity to respond to the threats and resist any eviction plans.