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More Than 70000 Maasai Evicted From Ancestral Grounds in Tanzania

October 6, 2022

Posted by Tsoku Maela

In 2018, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) granted an injunction prohibiting the Tanzanian government from evicting Maasai communities from 1 500 square kilometres of ancestral land. This follows the brokering of a deal between the Tanzanian government and United Arab Emirates-based hunting firm Ortello business corporation (OBC) permitting them to create a wildlife corridor for trophy hunting.

The government has ignored this injunction, however. The regional commissioner for the Arusha region, John Mongella informed Maasai leaders of the government’s decision to lease the land to OBC on 11 January 2022, stating that it was in the “national interest”. Approximately 15 villages within the proposed area would be impacted by the decision as the district is vital for Maasai pastoralists, who have sustainably stewarded the area for generations. The Maasai have developed a symbiotic relationship that has allowed local ecology, domesticated livestock, and people to coexist in a resource-scarce environment.

‘This local knowledge has been largely credited as allowing the large mammal population and ecological diversity to grow under the stewardship of the Maasai,’ said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute. ‘Replacing them with tourists and hunters will likely negatively impact the environment and health of wildlife populations.’