Several people from the Maasai community in Kenya demonstrated in Nairobi on June 17. They are accusing neighbouring Tanzania of using violence against their people by trying to evict them from their land for tourism purposes. Maasai in Tanzania have spotted officials marking off land reportedly for a game reserve in the Ngorongoro District.
“The rights of the indigenous community living in Tanzania, especially the Maa community, and we are not going to move an inch from our cradle land in Loliondo, in Simanchilo, in Kiteto, in Kilimanjaro. We are going to stay put.“, says Jonathan Mpute Ole Pasha, national coordinator of the Maa unity agenda group in Kenya.
The confrontation started in Tanzania but many fled to Kenya to avoid repercussions. They are denouncing an “infringement of the rights of indigenous communities in Tanzania.”
“We are saying no, no to violations of human rights. People. in Tanzania are dying, women are being raped, children are getting lost and you arrest us? Why? We are the Maasai. We will not agree.”, cries Irene Soila, a member of Maa community.
UN expert says up to 70,000 Maasai could be displaced by the planned game reserve.
“We want the authorities in Tanzania to halt the ongoing demarcation process and the security operation in Loliondo and we want the government to begin genuine consultations with the Maasai community. They must also ensure that there are remedies offered to all affected persons.”, says Roland Ebole, a regional researcher for Uganda and Tanzania at Amnesty International.
The East African Court of Justice is meant to rule on the merits of a case filed by supporters of the Maasai against the Tanzuneean government on June 22.