There is unrest in Ngorongoro, our government is pretending not to know and there could be real problems if the authorities keep burying their heads in the sand.
For the past few weeks, surveyors and other government officials had clashed with the Maasai community living in the world-famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area by demarcating areas and fortifying beacons. The Maasai, who have inhabited this land for centuries, believe the government is up to some mischief and they resist any attempt to evict them from their ancestral habitat.
This story is not brand new, although the consequences could be more ominous this time. More than a quarter of a century ago there was much ado about hunting blocs assigned to some Arab potentates who seemed to have secured the right to hunt and indiscriminately kill animals destined to be protected.
< p>I recall me that the non-state media had a great day exposing the machinations of the time (the state-controlled media saw nothing, of course!) and that the then one-party parliament seriously questioned the government, leading to the dismissal of some ministers in Ali Hassan Mwinyi’s government.’ /p>
A similar situation is being re-enacted, and this time reports indicate the death of at least one police officer and the wounding of dozens of Maasai herders.
It looks like a complicated, tricky situation out. It is about the right the Maasai claim to live where they have always lived; the state’s willingness to enforce perceived protections for wildlife breeding and calving grounds; and the cross-border mixing of Maasai in Tanzania and Kenya.
As in any other situation of this nature, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between Kenyan and Tanzanian Maasai; Wherever their livestock graze is their home, and over centuries they have created cultural and spiritual liens that bind them together in age group ceremonies that ignore the artificial European borders conjured up in the 1880s.
In a way Wisely, these are the truest Pan-Africans practicing the theory that Africa is one. Last time I checked they were on our border with Zambia and the cattle were facing south.
There are so many themes intertwined in this ongoing saga and that’s enough far back about 30 years ago. The belief that the government has the right and power to do with the country as it pleases is one of the issues since all the land within the country belongs to the president.
Another might feel its in some people’s minds that there is too much land and that we could turn some of it into some kind of security in exchange for what we call “development”.
And there might be a feeling that people like the Maasai are too backward in their lifestyle and are holding back “development”.
All of these are issues that need serious thought, not the knee-jerk reactions we all too often face will. When it is reported that there are problems, as in the case under consideration, the government’s response is Hakuna Matata – all is quiet – and that is pure fabrication.
Our people are now used to government lies. Some people in government have been identified as chronic liars of such proportions that one has to wonder if the habit is taught in government schools.
But right in the thick of it A new episode of the long-running saga is the attitude of the Speaker of the House, who chimed in on the controversy by adding her voice to those who said “no wahala” in Ngorongoro and suggested that the “untruths” should be eradicated, beginning with these the who released clips of the riots.
Well, that’s a bit rich, even for an office that has long since relinquished its independence because it’s occupied by lawmakers who want to be part of the executive branch. The current Speaker is no different from her predecessor, who under John Magufuli’s regime had so completely transformed Parliament into a government department that he was just awaiting instructions from the State House to implement.
Now see it as if we weren’t over the hill here, as in many other areas. The spokeswoman – no less than a former law professor – sees the problem in the messenger and wants to silence any message she doesn’t like.
That’s nothing new either, because it’s been like this for as long as anyone can remember attitude of this Parliament to encourage cover-ups and discourage openness.
How we will emerge from this crippling disease is difficult to predict, for We have lost much parliamentary clout by accepting stamped shop talk instead of an orderly Parliament and we are all committed to the Presidency now and everyone is begging the President to do this, that, and that. It’s disgusting.
If that’s all we have for a parliament, a chamber of choristers instead of people’s representatives, can the vast sums of money spent on its work ever be justified?
Jenerali Ulimwengu is now on YouTube via jenalionline tv. Email: [emailprotected]