NEWS 2007

 

02.05.2007

EA’s last tribal bushmen in stiff survival battle in Mbulu valley

- see also background info below the article.

... the good news is that the Arabs, responding to the public outcry, have withdrawn from the Yaida Valley and left the Hadza in peace.

For how long ? - that's the question which remains until the Hadza have a chance to really defend their own common interests.



ThisDay http://www.thisday.co.tz/News/1878.html

Wednesday, May 02 2007

CORRESPONDENT VALENTINE MARC NKWAME

Mbulu

THE Hadzabe clan of hunter-gatherers, who are the last of a rapidly shrinking population of 10,000 tribal bushmen in Tanzania, are battling for their very survival against a foreign investor company they claim is trying to grab their traditional land.

It is alleged that the Tanzania United Arab Emirates Safaris Limited company, which has roots in the Middle East, intends to take over the entire 3,975 square kilometers of the Yaeda valley and the stretching Eyasi escarpments in the eastern division of Mbulu District, Manyara Region.

The bushmen claim that as a result of the situation, threats, intimidation, fear and chaos have now become the order of the day in their once-calm ’Garden of Eden.’

Reports have it that the Yaeda valley, which since human evolution has been home to East Africa’s only remaining tribe of pure bushmen - the Hadzabe - has now become a literal battlefield between the native residents and various Mbulu District officials who appear intent on ensuring that the ’investor’ firm moves in.

It is stated that the valley population, numbering more than 10,000, is now living in abject fear in the wake of an ultimatum of sorts issued by the district officials, that they either accept the investor’s various demands or be forcefully evicted from the valley for good.

Also residing in the same valley are members of the Datoga and Barbaig tribes.

According to Zephania Athuman of the Mongo wa Mono Village committee in the valley, neither he nor other members of the committee were ever involved in the process leading up to the leasing out of the land to the Arab company.

Speaking to this reporter, Zephania wondered aloud how a ’foreigner’ could infiltrate the area to such an extent without the natives being aware.

And an elderly member of the Hadzabe tribe, Mahiya Matulu, speaking through an interpreter, displayed scars of wounds from a beating he claimed to have received at the hands of unspecified people, apparently for speaking out too vocally against the deal.

The said investor company, which has said it plans to introduce commercial and sports hunting activities in the valley, moved into the area last year and has already set up a temporary camp, although it is yet to start its proposed activities.

The Mongo wa Mono Village chairman, Reuben Mathayo, said when contacted for comment that agents representing the company have promised to deliver a number of development projects in the area, as part of the investment package.

He, however, refuted claims that the deal agreement has already been signed.

’’We cannot sign while all this controversy still exists, and in fact even the investor himself has not yet set foot here. But we believe the natives’ negative attitude is being incited by some people who do not want this place to be developed,’’ Mathayo said, without offering any names.

It is understood that the district wildlife officer, Allan Shani, has recently presided over several meetings to address the issue, and officials say all these meetings resulted in unanimous agreement to accept the Arab investor company in the valley.

But contradictory findings by this reporter suggest that many of the Yaeda Chini valley residents whose names appeared in the attendance lists of those meetings, have been dead for many years.

According to Dumanga Ward resident Yohana Gitang, many of the native widows even staged protest marches on learning that the names of their dead husbands had been included in the attendance lists.

They include Ms Amina Zungu Gitandu and Ms Kirstina Paulo, who supported Gitang’s claims and accused Shani and his game scouts of trying to bully the natives into accepting the investor.

Shani is further alleged to have been gifted a new car by the investor company, but he himself denied this when contacted, saying he acquired his brand new, white-coloured Toyota Mark II saloon vehicle with registration number T172 ABE through his ’own efforts.’

Also denying charges of receiving 3m/- bribes over the issue were the Mongo wa Mono Village chairman, Mathayo, and Yaeda Chini Ward councilor Bryson Kisaki.

The state-run Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance is also reported to have joined the bandwagon, sending a six-strong delegation led by commissioner Jecha Salim Jecha to try and persuade the indigenous valley residents to accept the Arabian-based Tanzania UAE Safaris Ltd company into the vast valley as a move towards ’speeding up their development.’

But Jecha and his team are said to have got more than they bargained for, when their public rally address to a crowd of more than 200 people was interrupted by frenzied and animated mass protests and threats aimed at the visiting delegation.

The delegation, comprising Jecha, two commission investigators, a hired local journalist and the district wildlife officer escaped in a convoy of three vehicles, with some angry youths hurling stones in their direction as they disappeared up the trail.

A spokesperson for the Hadzabe community in the valley, Naftal Kitandu, told this reporter that they now intended to further pursue their case of injustice with the courts in Arusha, with main respondents being the Mbulu District Council and the district wildlife department led by Shani.

Not a single Mbulu District official could be contacted for comment up to the time this reporter left the area.

--------------

BACKGROUND:

The Arabs (UAE) – two separate families from United Arab Emirates.

• Brigadier M.A. Al Ali (Vice-Minister of Defense) took Loliondo Game Controlled Areas thru ties with Pres. Mwinyi. Company is notorious for bad behavior and large-scale bribery.

• Bin Zayed family were granted last stronghold of the Hadza in 2005 despite strong opposition in local community.

In 2005, CCM sought a hunting block they could give to a group of wealthy Arabs in exchange for a campaign contribution.

– Mbulu MP, Philip Marmo, offered Yaeda Chini, an area largely occupied by the last remaining Hadza (Tanzania’s bushmen). Block granted after payoffs to CCM.

– Marmo was made Minister of Governance in Dec. 2005

• The UAE deal was brokered by Hassan bin Talal, Prince of Jordan and President of the Club of Rome

• UAE Safaris is owned by Hamed bin Zayed, son of the Sultan of the UAE, and Mohamed bin Zayed, head of UAE airport.

• Yaeda Chini only holds a few hundred gazelle and hartebeest; Hadza are hunter-gatherers; Arab hunters, unlike western hunters, shoot antelope for export to the UAE, so observers feared the end of the Hadza.

– The Hadza community was split by the UAE deal, some accepted token payment, others objected; at least nine opponents were killed.

– Minister Marmo responded to the local forum reported in the ptess with an address blaming the Hadza’s problems on wazungu and NGO's.

• The Arabs would never have settled for such a poor hunting block if TZ’s blocks were not tied up by subleasers and TAHOA.

... and another interesting article in this context:

Who owns what

- List of industry players includes some interesting names

THISDAY REPORTER

Dar es Salaam

http://www.thisday.co.tz/News/2699.html

AT least one government minister, a couple of ruling CCM party legislators, several retired top public leaders and a good number of prominent businessmen are all named in a shortlist of Tanzanian citizens reported to have a substantial stake in the country’s lucrative but largely foreign-dominated tourist hunting industry.

The incumbent Minister for Information, Culture and Sports, Mohamed Seif Khatib; former Inspector General of Police Haroun Mahundi; and the family of Kwela Member of Parliament Dr Chrisant Mzindakaya all feature prominently in the list of who owns what in local tourist hunting.

Another legislator, Ms Halima Mohammed Mamuya, is also understood to have a stake in the multi-billion shilling industry, although reports say she is at present personally involved in a legal tussle over the ownership of her hunting company.

According to the findings of a THISDAY survey, Minister Khatib is listed as director of M.S.K Tours and Hunting Safaris Company Limited, a firm ostensibly named after the initials of his own name. Official records show that M.S.K Tours and Hunting Safaris Co. Ltd was in 2005 granted a concession on the Mtungwe open area by the Wildlife Division in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

Meanwhile, the Mzindakaya family is linked to the Sumbawanga-based Milanzi Wild Animals, Zoo & Tours company, which was allocated a concession on the Swagaswaga area in 2003.

Ms Mamuya, a nominated member of parliament, who also recently resigned as secretary-general of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi women’s organisation (UWT), is linked to the Morogoro Hunting Safaris Limited company which was in 2004 granted a concession on the Sasawala Forest Reserve/open area.

Retired IGP Haroun Mahundi was at one time, or still is, associated with the V.I.P Hunting Safari Club Limited company which was granted several hunting concessions in the 1990s.

Furthermore, the family of veteran politician Rashid Mfaume Kawawa is also reported to have an interest in the local tourist hunting business, through at least one company going by the name of Said Kawawa Hunting Safaris.

And some members of the family of former prime minister, the late Edward Moringe Sokoine, have been linked to Coastal Wilderness (Tanzania) Limited and Joyful Adventure (Tanzania) Limited, both of which are registered tourist hunting companies with concessions.

Apart from the handful of politicians and retired civil servants, several prominent local businessmen have also emerged as major players in the tourist hunting stakes. They include Mohsin Abdallah, who is understood to be linked to several hunting companies with lucrative concessions, such as Game Frontiers of Tanzania Limited, Royal Frontiers of Tanzania Limited and Northern Hunting Enterprises Limited.

Abdallah, also popularly known as ’Sheni’, was in 2001 also appointed by the government to serve on the Tanzania National Parks? (TANAPA) board of directors.

Also on the list of who’s who in the industry is businessman Akram Aziz, a brother of the Igunga MP and current CCM party treasurer Rostam Aziz. The wildlife division last year allocated two concessions to Akram, on the Litumbandyosi open area/Gezamasua Forest Reserve and Wembere open area, through the Wembere Hunting Safari company which he is understood to own.

Dar es Salaam businessman Mustafa R. Jaffer has been linked to the Barlette Safari Corporation Limited company, along with other shareholders from the family of prominent local tourist hunting personality Gerard Pasanisi.

Also listed is Michael Mantheakis, director of the Miombo Safaris Limited company which has concessions in the Selous Game Reserve, Rungwa Mpera Game Reserve, Lukwika/Lumesule Game Reserve, and the Msanjesi Game Reserve/Lionja Forest Reserve/Kipindimbi open area. Another company under Mantheakis’ common ownership, Kilombero North Safaris Limited, was allocated at least two hunting concessions in the Kilombero area.

The Malagarasi Hunting Safaris Limited, owned by businessman and well-known football commentator Licky Abdallah, was allocated a concession on the Kigosi Game Reserve in 2004; and the Mulla family also has several concessions through the Tanzania Wildlife Corporation and Usangu Safaris Limited companies.

But despite this comprehensive list of Tanzanians deeply involved in the money-spinning local tourist hunting business, all the pointers show that it basically remains largely in the control of foreigners.

Our survey has already established that ever since way back in the late 1970s, the industry as a whole has been monopolised by an elite group of foreign companies, consigning the bulk of the local citizenry to the role of mere spectators.

The current roster of key players in the industry shows a huge presence of French, American, Arab, British, Italian, German, Dutch, Belgian, Swiss, South African, Kenyan and Greek businessmen, to name but a few nationalities.

Pasanisi, himself a French national who is currently chairman of the Tanzania Hunting Operators Association (TAHOA), is widely considered to be the kingpin of the local industry, with considerable influence both in the country and abroad.

Tanzania’s safari hunting industry has of late been dragged into the centre of a growing international debate in the wake of a government decision to raise various hunting licence fees with the aim of boosting national revenue collection and facilitating more sustainable hunting.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof. Jumanne Maghembe, has found himself under mounting pressure from major hunting companies to reconsider the decision, but has stated that the government plans to stick to its guns on the controversial issue.