The Stream

Why are Tanzania’s Maasai being forced off their ancestral land?

On Monday, February 28 at 19:30GMT:
Tanzania has renewed efforts to evict thousands of indigenous people from their ancestral land in the north of the country. It’s a move that the government claims will help bolster the country’s tourism industry through big game hunting.

The land in question is in Loliondo and is home to 70,000 Masaai people, a semi-nomadic ethnic group. The plan is to move the Maasai into the Ngorgongoro Conservation Area (NCA), a UNESCO designated World Heritage site for its global importance to biodiversity. It’s also home to some 80,000 previously evicted Maasai.

For years, Tanzania has tried to gain control of the land in an attempt to create a trophy hunting corridor for tourism companies like Otterlo Business Company, which is based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE.) The group’s exclusive 25-year deal with Tanzania, which brought in millions of dollars for the country’s military, ended in 2017.

The threat of eviction has grabbed the attention of the global activist organization, Avaaz, whose online petition has garnered more than 3 million signatures, including Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo.

In this episode of The Stream, we discuss the importance of the land for both the Maasai and the Tanzanian government and ask what solutions there are to resolve the matter.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Erick Kabendera, @kabsjourno

Joseph Moses Oleshangay, @Oleshangay
Human rights lawyer

Edward Porokwa, @PINGOsForum
Director, PINGO Forum