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withdrawn from the Yaida Valley and left the Hadza in peace.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.
Wednesday, May 02 2007
CORRESPONDENT VALENTINE MARC NKWAME
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
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
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
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
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.
– 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
Dar es Salaam
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
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
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
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
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.