Maasai Wildlife Conservation and Human Need

The Myth of "Community Based Wildlife Management"

by Navaya ole Ndaskoi

Co-ordinator, Indigenous Rights for Survival International


© 2001 Navaya ole Ndaskoi / ECOTERRA Intl.




NAVAYA NDASKOI was born on 14 April 1974 on the foothills of mount Munduli, Tanzania. As a Maasai boy, he spent his childhood grassing the family livestock. At the age of ten he joined primary school. He gained admission to the seminary aspiring to become a priest but eventually changed. In 2001 he entered the University of Dar Es Salaam where he is currently reading Economics and Geography. He is the Co-ordinator of an informal group called Indigenous Rights for Survival International (IRSI). The group is a loose network of young people with an interest in public policy issues


1        Introduction................................................................................................................ 150

2        The Background of the Crisis....................................................................................... 150

2.1     The Country Profile...................................................................................................... 153

2.1.1  Land Act 1999 and Policy 1995..................................................................................... 153

3        What is Wildlife Conservation in Tanzania for?................................................................ 154

4       Communities’ Share..................................................................................................... 159

5       Good News for the Lion is a Terrible Tragedy for the Deer................................................. 162

5.1     Focus on Minjingu Village in “Kwa Kuchinja Corridor”...................................................... 169

5.2     Violence was used to Establish WMA in Minjingu........................................................... 170

5.3     Human Development Index in the Village........................................................................ 172

5.4     Human-Wildlife Conflict in Minjingu Village...................................................................... 173

6       The Myth of “Community Based Wildlife Management”.......................................................173

7      Lessons from other African Countries............................................................................... 181

8       Plan of Action: Truth is the First Casualty......................................................................... 184

9      Options and Alternatives.................................................................................................. 185

10     Conclusion...................................................................................................................... 186


References and Selected Bibliography....................................................................................... 190

 1         Introduction

This paper investigates whether wildlife conservation really benefits local communities, the people who were original residents of areas around and/or in protected areas. Its aims are (a) to reveal the untold truth (b) to put to rest the fabrication that wildlife is a local community development factor and (c) to suggest alternative solutions to the crisis facing the wildlife sector. The paper analyses the livelihoods of indigenous communities, with particular reference to the Maasai, speakers of Maa.


This paper analyses old conservation approaches and the new myth[1] of “Community Based Conservation” in the Greater Ngorongoro region encompassing all wildlife-protected areas in North-East Tanzania. Beyond this area, the study refers to general processes.


Conservation, wildlife and communities, are all together emotive words that evoke fear, anger and guilt deeply rooted in history. The reason is that the Government had inherited a monstrously oppressive colonial system. It straightaway went to recognise the colonial legal framework with a few legislative amendments here and there (Lumumba, 2001 & Shivji, 2001).


European conservationists sought to exploit the frightening notion that wildlife was about to disappear (see Grzimek, 1960: 20)[2]. The method for establishing wildlife-protected areas has not changed, and the establishment is praised as a conservation success. Conservation organisation is militaristic in style and action as survival for the fittest has always been the approach.


This is not a place to go into details of this law of the jungle. Suffice it to mention that the principal danger of this situation is not just the denial of civil liberties; the serious danger is a lasting one: the perpetuation of established disorder.


It is the contention of this paper that Tanzanians must ensure that wildlife must survive as long as they do, irrespective of whether or not there is an economic advantage in so doing.


2         The Background of the Crisis

 When colonisers from Europe arrived in America shortly after 1492, they found the Indians living on the land with a wide range of natural resources. Colonialists gunned down herds of wildlife. The dimension of poaching in that era has had no equal anywhere since. The Native Americans were also hunted down like dogs. The European invasion of Africa was also followed by a hunting spree, which was sustained for years. Several species of wildlife were brought near the brink of extinction. The loss of some wild species led some colonisers to campaign for conservation (Parkipuny, 1991).    

Wildlife conservation in Tanzania dates as far back as 1891 when laws controlling hunting were first enacted by the Germans. In 1921, the British established the Game Department. In 1928, Ngorongoro [Koronkoro was corrupted by Europeans to Ngorongoro] Crater Closed was established. A year later, the Serengeti [Siringet was corrupted by Europeans to Serengeti] Game Reserve was established (MNRT, 1998). In 1951 the Serengeti National Park, which incorporated the Ngorongoro Crater, was gazetted followed by several National Parks and Game Reserves.

After “independence,” many wildlife-protected areas were established. Today Tanzania has set aside nearly 48% of its territory for wildlife conservation. This is in the form of 12 National Parks (4%), 32 Game Reserves (15%), and 38 Game Controlled Areas (8%). Ngorongoro Conservation Area (1%) plus over 8% to other de facto wildlife protected areas  (MNRT, 1996) such as “corridors, buffer zones” etc., 570 Forest Reserves cover nearly 15% of which 3% overlap with other areas devoted to wildlife conservation (MNRT, 1998:4). The principal wildlife protected areas are shown on the map (p.5). There is also 1 Marine Park (%?).


As such, Tanzania is among the leading of the few countries in the world that has designated a huge portion of its land area for wildlife conservation. Sadly, the contribution of the tourism sector to the national economy has persistently been dismal (see below). Tanzanians living in and/or around wildlife-protected areas have been in an unpleasant state of limbo regarding the role of the sector in alleviating the abject poverty facing them (Parkipuny, 1991).


The inclusion of certain species into endangered ones is done on a global scale, that is, the endangered species may be abundant in one region, but globally endangered. This puts local communities in and/or around wildlife-protected areas at a very tight corner. Yet, conservationists want more land for wildlife conservation.


The whole ploy is, virtually, to make Tanzania a tourism dependent economy. Adam Smith’s comparative advantage theory seems to be the hidden agenda. This Order makes it possible for the North to determine and control the prices of both exports and imports in developing economies. What would happen if Tanzania is dictated to reduce say, park-entering fees?


It is very dangerous for an African country like Tanzania to be a tourism-depended economy due to a number of reasons. The main, among others, is the fact that any suspicious of insecurity in the country concerned or even in neighbouring countries is enough to divert tourists (Fosbrooke, 1972). For example, a significant proportion of tourists to Tanzania begin their visits in Kenya: approximately, 60% of tourists cross via the Kenyan border. But political instability in Kenya has reduced the number of tourists to Kenya, affecting revenues in Tanzania too (Mwinyiechi, 2001:2).

  Map Of Tanzania Showing Core Protected Areas[3]

 2.1        The Country Profile

One obvious distortion that conservationists are perpetuating is the view that the tourism sector is contributing highly to the national economy. Irrespective of having a big share of the land (see Table 1), wildlife contribution to the Gross Domestic Product is about 2% (AWF, 2001b:ii & MNRT, 1998:33). It is equally absurd to suggest that the sector is employing many people. For out of about 33 million Tanzanians, the sector has been employing an average of 92,556 people per year from 1991-1999 (JMT, 2000).


            Table 1: Estimates of land use patterns in Tanzania[4]

Small-scale cultivation                                                            5.1%

Large-scale cultivation                                                            1.5%

Range lands (for livestock and wildlife)                             39.4%

Forestry and woodlands (for mainly wildlife)   49.1%

Others                                                                                        5.0%

Total                                                                                       100.0%

                Source: (Calculated by me from Shivji, 2001 & MNRT, 1996).

In 1981, the UNESCO declared both Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park the World Heritage Sites in recognition of their “outstanding universal value for humankind.” Yet Tanzania is among the 10 poorest countries in the world![5] Over 50% of the human population is living below the “poverty line” (visit


The Serengeti Maasai were ejected to give room for wildlife (Fosbrooke, 1972). The fate of the Ngorongoro Maasai is uncertain as conservationists threaten to eject them altogether from their ancestral land (Shivji, 2001). The said two wildlife-protected areas are estimated at 23,060 km2. The total land area designated for wildlife-protected areas in the Greater Serengeti Region is bigger than Switzerland. The latter is 41,293 km2. It can be said undoubtedly that UNESCO can never dare to make a similar recognition in, say, Europe. It does not take much effort to imagine how the Swiss would accept this state of affair, being ejected to give room for the “World Heritage Site” for the Maasai tourists to visit and bring in the “badly need foreign currency” or anything else.

Land Act 1999 and Policy 1995[6]

The corpus of land tenure regime developed during the colonial times continued to apply fully after independence with only one change: ‘President’ replaced ‘Governor’. All public lands were vested in the President as the head of the executive under the control and administration of the state bureaucracy. The jurisprudence developed by the courts until recently considered customary tenure, that is deemed rights of occupancy, inferior and less secure to granted right of occupancy. Major shifting of customary holders like the villagisation programme was carried out without any fundamental change in the land tenure regime. Similarly, the state after independence alienated village lands for various, so-called public purpose, without first following due process provisions of compulsory acquisition of the Land Acquisition Act, 1967 (Shivji, 2001:30).    

The new Land Act 1999 and Village Land Act 1999 were drafted by the British consultant, Professor Patrick McAuslan, whose work was funded by the British Overseas Development Administration, now Department for International Development (DfID). He is the man “trusted” by the Tanzanian Government to sort out the grave mess resulting from the British colonial state’s Land Ordinance 1923. Significantly, Professor Shivji was not involved in the drafting of the Act, although he had spent two years (1991-1992) as a Chairman of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters. The Act advocates individualisation of land tenure. This is paramount to create security of land tenure and ensure freedom of exchange of land as a commodity with a market value. Contrary to the Presidential Commission’s recommendations (URT, 1994), the Ministry of Lands officials are still in-charge of land administration (Nangoro, 2001).


The two pieces of Legislation, basically, reflect the National Land Policy 1995 that has retained the Colonial Legacy and globalisation system. The Village Land Act 1999 reduces a village land title to a village land certificate, which is less powerful than the former. The Right of Occupancy type of land tenure is as virgin as before. Title to land remains to the President. The Government does not take into account the marginalised communities. The policy and lawmakers have once more misunderstood the pastoral mode of production as “irrational” and “unviable.” The policy condemns pastoralism for bringing land use conflicts and destruction of the environment.


On the other hand the policy does not mention hunter-gatherers at all (Porokwa, 2001). The laws are elaborate piece of legislation. The vesting of radical title in the President continues with one difference. The President holds all lands in trust. Whether this will be treated as a legal trust or only a political trust remains to be seen (Shivji, 2001). The national land policy vested even more power in the executive arm of the state over control and management of land (Kapinga, 1997:16). The implication of these two pieces of land legislation is the predicament of rural people, pastorals in particular (Francis Shomet pers.comm. 04.09.02). Despite several informed calls to formulate a fair Land Act, “McAuslan’s” Land Act was approved by the parliament in May 2001 (Ndaskoi, 2002).


The Government as a custodian of public rights may need a legislation like the Land Act 1999 and Village Land Act 1999, but surely with some conditions. No one should have a right and powers to decent life under any cover. Under the present system, not only that the Government decides unilaterally on rates of compensation, but also it is not compelled to compensate when it repatriate land. What is to be expected of the people who are vacated from their ancestral lands? (ibid: 6).  


These are just the salient features of the Tanzanian profile. There are many details that have been left out not because they are not important, but because the aim of this paper is to reconstruct some specific processes which have a bearing on the discussion at hand. The issues that have been highlighted in this chapter are those related to historical background of conservation in Tanzania, the size of land designated for wildlife conservation, contribution of the tourism sector to the economy and the donors dictation in policy and law making in Tanzania. 

3         What is Wildlife Conservation in Tanzania for?

Tourism is considered the jet engine empowering the Tanzanian exchequer. The Government benefits financially[7] and rhetorically from wildlife conservation. It is argued that policies must serve political, social, cultural as well as economic ends. But the revenue earned from the tourism sector is much more of a priority for the international multimillion companies and Government officials than the plight of rural people. At the same time, some conservationists claim that wildlife should not be valued in economic terms and that existence values are reasons enough to conserve wildlife and that attaching a 'market' value will lead to the extinction of species (WCMC, 1992).


Conservation was aimed at securing future German generations the chance to find leisure and recreation in African hunting in the future times. A decree made by Hermann Vos Wissmann, the Imperial Governor in the first general Wildlife Ordinance for the then German East Africa in 1896 is evidence. He said, "…I feel obliged to issue this Ordinance in order to conserve wildlife and to avoid that species become extinct for our future generations" (Kakakuona, April-June 2000).


It must be said that no fair-minded person can underestimate the role that this decree played in conservation of wildlife in Tanganyika. But to the Germans, just like other Europeans of the time, an African was regarded generally as a poacher, a thief, actual or potential. He was a liar and a layabout. He was a parasite and, of course, he was most definitely a danger to the lives of white men, women, children and African wildlife, if not a potential rapist as well (Vambe, 1972:105). The humanity and dignity of the “natives” did not count in the eyes of the “whites” (Shivji, 1986:75).


Conservation was (is) meant for tourists from the “nations of European Stock”, a people who are thirsting for recreation in the wilderness (WTO, 1992). Tourists were (are) granted hunting permits that are as good as legalised poaching. This is exactly what brought several wildlife species to extinction or near the brink of extinction. It is impossible to comprehend the reasons under which the Hadza (singular Hadzabi), the Mbugwe, the Maasai, the Iraqw, the Rangi, ethnic groups living round Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks would kill a rhino or an elephant.


But Tarangire was a home to thousands of black rhinos. Disturbingly, today there is no rhino in the park (Business Times March 3-9, 2000). It was a home to a large number of elephants that were about to be eliminated altogether by the European “hunters”. The Hadza can no longer crop what traditionally belongs to them because they are blindly branded “poachers” (Fosbrooke, 1972).


A major goal of the narrow-minded and rather arrogant conservationists is to eliminate hunting by Africans, which colonial Governments believed threatened to wipe out wildlife. For instance Frederick Selous claimed that of every 1,000 hunted elephants, Africans killed 997. Selous had no evidence for this assertion, but it served the purpose of those who wanted to guarantee the availability of wild animals for the aristocratic hunters (Adams & McShane, 1992:46).


Joseph Thomson, who explored Maasailand in the 1880s, had a bleak view. Thomson exaggerated the threat the ivory trade posed to elephants, but not by much (Adams & McShane, 1992 & 1996).


The slaughter of elephants by white hunters, particularly in southern Africa, was staggering. A well-outfitted hunter could shoot upward of two hundred elephants in a single safari, and several thousand if he made a career of it. Some hunters killed so many elephants that ivory overflowed their wagons and had to be abandoned in the bush (Thomson, 1885 cited in Fosbrooke 1972).


Similarly, it was the selfish German and British poachers, farmers and ranchers who mercilessly butchered rhinos. The late Henry Fosbrooke, the former Ngorongoro Chief Conservator, testifies: 


Some of the disappearance [of rhinos] is due to shooting, for pleasure or profit, as witness the bags of the early sportsmen. Sir John Willoughby and three brother officers from the Indian army shot 66 in the Taveta region near Kilimanjaro in the course of four months. Count Teleki and his party, [“] discoverers [”] of Lake Rudolf, shot 99 in the course of their safari. Another party was alleged to have shot 80 around Machakos in 1893 in less than three months. Further cases on the German side of the border are Dr. Kolb, who killed 150 before one killed him; Herr von Bastineller, killed 140, Herr von Eltz, killed 60, Dr. Oscar Baumann, the first European to see Lakes Manyara and Eyasi in 1892, killed three in Ngorongoro and so on (Fosbrooke 1972:97ff).

These figures reveal not only the bloodlust of the so-called sportsmen, but also the extraordinary density of the rhino population in Africa during those strange times of white men wandering.


Africans also hunted but let it not be thought that they hunted for amateurs. Three men, one musket, one homemade muzzleloader, no tent, no shoes, and little more than rags for clothing, Africans go out hunting for survival (Adams & McShane, 1996:126ff). On the contrary Europeans appeared to get a thrill out of wildlife shooting (Fosbrooke, 1972). Let any Doubting Thomas listen to Thomson:


I was more successful in finishing a sleeping rhinoceros. I crept up to it with the customary precautions, and in the process I experienced the usual sensations as of crawling centipedes about my spine, a wildly pulsating heart, a feeling of sweating blood, staring eyes, and gasping for breath, till on getting into actual danger, my nerves became braced up, my muscles like iron. When within a few yards, I took swift and silent aim. As the report echoed with startling roar I dropped to the ground like a hare. The great black mass instantly became animate. Jumping up, it stared wildly around, and then with blood spouting out of its nostrils like water from a fountain, it ran a short distance, to topple over dead. It had been shot through the lungs…After this…(Thomson, 1885 cited in Fosbrooke 1972:97).


Perhaps this is actually what he felt, or perhaps he had his eye on his book sales and the impact this fanciful writing was likely to have in Victoria clubs and drawing rooms! All in all, this hunting brought some wildlife species near the brink of extinction in Africa, Tanzania in particular.


Serengeti attracted many scientists whose research plans called for shooting wildlife in protected areas, which was prohibited in Kenya and Uganda but not in Tanzania. As a result, between 1964 and 1971 researchers killed thousands of animals in the interest of science. Hundreds of orphaned calves were abandoned to die of starvation or were predated. The black rhino that once thrived in the Serengeti is on the brink of extinction (ibid.89). Serengeti National Park used to buy horns and ivory, supposedly to discourage poaching (Saitoti, 1986). This undoubtedly had fuelled poaching.


Researchers, few of them Africans, have turned Tanzania (Serengeti and Ngorongoro in particular) into a laboratory in which doctoral dissertations are undertaken. This is mainly in the field of conservation biology as the Soules put it: “Conservation biology remains of interest primarily to members of university departments in Europe and North America”(Soule et al., 1986). Myles Turner, a warden in Serengeti National Park from 1956 to 1972, in his My Serengeti Years, noted:


In those days there was little question of research being geared for park management, and a determined smash-and-grab raid for PhD’s was started by youngsters who regarded the Serengeti and its animals as a vast natural laboratory to be looted at will. Scientists are in charge of the animals these days. We just keep things going for them (Turner, 1989 cited in Adams & McShane, 1996).                                                                                                                        


That statement is still true. Scientists working in the Serengeti and elsewhere in Africa often labour under the same myths that plague other aspects of conservation. Scientific research has usually occurred in a cultural vacuum, with little interaction with Africans. Biological and ecological examination of the minutiae of an African ecosystem not only misses the cultural forest in pursuit of exceptional trees, but scientists sometimes appear to be studying wildlife into extinction (Adams & McShane, 1996:86). No place on earth offers a better opportunity to observe the behaviour of large mammals than Serengeti, and Serengeti guarantee a comfortable climate nearly year around.[8]


The claim that a market value should not be attached to conservation is, in plain English, blatant lies! In practical terms, land allocated to wildlife conservation is reserved for tourists and investors who are significantly foreigners. Foreign investors own about 80% of the entire tourist hotels and lodges. They own nearly 90% of the air travel and about 90% of tourist hunting business and transport. About 60% of all tour operator firms (Business Times December 28, 2001-January 4, 2002). You can now understand why “the nations of European stock” [Baffour Ankomah’s latest phrase] are clamouring for wildlife conservation. If you do not, other thoughts must be developed! 


The Head of Delegation of European Union Commission, William Hanna, said, “During the European Summer the long-haul jets have been full of tourists arriving in Tanzania” (Utalii, August 2001). Professor Seithy Chachage adds: “…just after Christmas in 1996, two chartered planes landed in Zanzibar, straight from Italy with more than 2,000 tourists who were going to spend their time in the beaches of Zanzibar and then fly to Arusha and back home” (Chachage, 2000:186).


At this point it may not be a bad idea to make assumptions. One, assume the said 2,000 tourists visited Ngorongoro Conservation Area. They were accommodated in a foreign owned hotel for two[9] days. Each tourist paid a total of US $ 150 fees for hotel expenses per day. The hotel owner (X) earned a total of US $ 600,000 in two days. Let this amount be what X earned in the year 1996. X was tax exempted.[10] Two, assume the said planes belong to another investor (Y). A tourist paid US $ 2400 as air fair for the whole safari. Y earned a gross total of US $ 4,800,000 in 1996. And British Airway and KLM are the leading airlines ferrying tourists to and fro Tanzania (Ndaskoi, 2002:9).


As stated earlier, the majority of Tanzanians live far below the “poverty line” earning less than US $ 1 per day i.e. US $ 246 (in 2001) per capita. Remember the average income per capita is obtained by an arithmetically equal distribution of wealth, which no Utopia is expected to achieve. Even so, it will take an average Tanzanian over 2,430 and 19,500 years to earn what X and Y respectively earned in just one year. And the average life expectancy in Tanzania is estimated at 48 years.


This is a parasitic stratum. It strengthened tour and travel companies in the same way in which local communities are weakened. It is polarisation of wealth and poverty at two opposite extremes. It is all sheer robbery, criminal plunder of the weak by the strong. To borrow the late Dr. Rodney’s (1970: 254) phrase, “capitalism is parading in without even a loin cloth to cover its nakedness.”


The Western world is full of records about wild Africa. Some of the documents wreaths to attract tourists while conservation crusaders aim at benefactors. For example, du Chaillu’s editors refused to publish his account of his journey, Exploration and Adventures in Equatorial Africa, until he had revised it twice so it met their high standard of sensationalism. They knew the European marketplace, if not the African forest. The book, finally, published in 1861, sold over 10,000 copies in two years (Adams & McShane, 1992:211), so is almost the story about wild Tanganyika (see Schillings, 1906). Dick Persson, and his ilk have left an “indelible” mark in wildlife cinematography in Tanzania. They produced “great” films thus they are winners of several awards:


Baron Hugo Van Lawick and his close assistant Edith Brinkers have attracted a good number of wildlife conservators, tourists and nature lovers to Tanzania with a strong zeal to find out in bushes what they saw on screen…Hugo has spend more time with [Tanzania] wild animals than with people… He has spent 25 years in his tented camp near Lake Ndutu in the Serengeti National Park making nature films which has taken the world by storm. These include Savage Paradise, Race for Life-Africas Great Migration, Cheetahs: In the Land of Lions, Lion: Pride of Africa, Leopard Son and his latest-Serengeti Symphony…Among the Wild Chimpanzees, The Baboons of Gombe and The People of Forest…He earned…six Emmy Awards, a Kodak Prism Award, L’Ordre du Merite, the Bradford Washburn Award, the Order of the Golden Ark from Prince Bernhard of Netherlands, and a British Academy nomination (Kakakuona, October-December 1999).


It must be emphasised that their target is the West and the urban centres in Tanzania. The point just made need not be belaboured. Suffice it to say rural people in Tanzania neither speak English nor do they have televisions[11]. Worse even, documentation was/is being used to demonise Africans!


A case in point is Elspeth Huxley, a great liar, typical of wildlife crusaders. He wrote, “The Olduvai Gorge used to be full of rhino. And then, in 1961, in the space of six months, the Leakeys counted over fifty rotting carcases in the Gorge, all speared by Masai. Whether or not their motive was political, they had taken the profit; every horn had been removed. Since then the Leakeys have not seen a single rhino at Olduvai” (Huxley, 1964). In 1966, over 70 rhinos inhabited Olduvai (Goddard, 1967 cited in Fosbrooke, 1972). The question of territoriality for rhino is very critical. “Rhino may stay in their own territory and die rather than seek pasture new…. With an animal of such static habits it is clearly impossible that the population built up from nil to 70 between 1963 when Huxley was writing, and 1966” (Fosbrooke, 1972). Huxley owes his audience an explanation.


Other beneficiaries are the self-appointed emancipators calling themselves advocates of this and that right of the ruined communities. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) claim a role of human rights guardians. At the same time they behave as authoritarian pseudo state agencies, with parasitic behaviour. Many NGOs thunder for rights of communities especially women (see Hunter et al., 1990 & Thomas, 1992). The executive directors feed on the sufferings of the communities under whose interest the organisations claim to exist. NGOs sit on both sides of the fence, scolding for human rights and begging funds in the name of local people (see Hanlon & Sikoyo, 2001:18).


There are several Western NGOs supporting disadvantaged groups in Africa. All have hidden agendas, mainly funds and popularity. Commenting on the hullabaloo by Survival, United Kingdom-based NGO that supports tribal peoples, Dr. Katumile Masire (“the clever baboon”) former President of Botswana said it all:


…They [Sans] are disadvantaged people. We want them to join the rest of the Batswana, to have schools, to go into settlements, where they can have clinics and hospitals. But those who want to do anthropological studies feel that this is interference, because, they say, we are poaching into their hunting grounds (Misser, 2002).


The Government of Botswana may well, for ill or good, be “brutally evicting the last Gana and Gwi from their ancestral lands”. But why organisations like Survival, which are neither neighbours nor in-laws of the Sans, are roaring? Welcome back to fund rising and rhetoric. Nothing else explains it! After all, in Britain they say, “there is nothing like a free lunch”.


Civil society has failed to embolden communities to stand the challenge of bargaining for their rights (Lumumba, 2001:5). NGOs, but not all, are correcting evil by spreading it. In fact one of the blights on the affairs of Tanzania is the role of NGOs funded by Western Governments, individuals and institutions. It will be in everybody’s interest for the NGOs to re-examine themselves.  


Meanwhile there are consultants, if consultants they could be called, working shoulder to shoulder with the Government in policy making. They defend their sadistic behaviour in the name of earning bread. However, not all of them are guilty. But some are chameleons of development, making themselves up with the latest instant tints. As a genus, chameleon consultants have a wide distribution. There are tropical species, but many are from the temperate North (Chambers, 1997).


In spite of the country being a wildlife treasure-trove, the indigenous population trail far behind. They constitute the bulk of beneficiaries of natural resources found in their “independent” country. Some members of local communities are employed in the tourism sector as sellers of baskets, scalp, and mainly pose for pictures normally in exchange of T-shirts, sweets, etc.


The concept of cultural tourism has of late been among the main problems facing the Maasai as a people but Ngorongoro Maasai particularly. After a few bends drive up the crater rim from the lower gate-house one sees the Maasai readily available to pose for tourist cameras. Some behave in typical pauper manners (Joel ole Rakwa pers.comm. 04.09.02). The Cultural Heritage in Arusha and others have been using the Maasai warriors, ilmuran, to entertain tourists. Nobody in responsible circles is seriously concerned with this phenomenon because it is not regarded as a problem (Lomelok ole Naigisa pers.comm. 05.09.02). But it is a tragedy so great that one is often overcome by despair due to the fact that the Maasai are being reduced to deformed frogs, which beg tourists.

4         Communities’ Share

In Tanzania there is much talk on the need of wildlife neighbouring communities to share the benefits of wildlife and other national reserves. This loud cry is neither supported by enforceable legislation nor by clearly spelt out Government policies. To Government functionaries, it is enough to proudly talk of the earnings from wildlife and highlight it as a percentage of the national income.


If the successes of conservation in terms of the welfare of rural people in and/or adjacent to wildlife-protected areas are gauged, obviously they are failure. Yet the villages in and around protected areas have little or almost no Government-supported infrastructures. For example:


There are no Government-sponsored but only three privately owned advanced level secondary education schools in the five Districts (Babati, Kondoa, Kiteto, Simanjiro and Monduli) bordering Tarangire National Park and in Ngorongoro Districts (Ndaskoi 2002:21). Even after 40 years of Tanganyika independence, the Government has refused (?) to build a District hospital in Ngorongoro (KIHACHA, 2002) inhabited by over 109, 000 people. And it may take a month to travel from Arusha to Loliondo depending on the season for there is almost no road (Watschinger, undated: 80ff & 109)… [Primary] school attendance and the teachers’ sense of duty are miserable… Of the 250 pupils on the register only 120 are usually present, sometimes far fewer; I have found schools with only 40 pupils present! And if there are seven teachers on the staff of a school, I can often find two… School inspections by the District education office hardly ever take place (ibid: 186).    


This situation brings to question the legitimacy of wildlife conservation vis-à-vis the right of rural people to lead a decent life given nature endowment in their localities. Communities are deceived!


How much for instance, of the earnings do precipitate down to a peasant or a pastoralist who spent sleepless nights because of the menace caused by wildlife? During the second phase Government, hunters in Loliondo and Simanjiro simply built a grinding mill, or a cattle-watering trough to thousands of villagers and gave local leaders “something” and part with the rest. Very few, if at all, Maasai are, for instance, employed in the tourism sector in Tanzania. Parkipuny put it:


To this day, the Ngorongoro Maasai have no effective voice in the NCAA. They are denied employment on the pretext that they do not want to take up job opportunities. Yet more than 90% of the 260 employees in the Mara Reserve [Kenya] are individuals of the pastoral Maasai cultural group. Out of more than 180 employees of the NCAA, only seven are Maasai from within the area and another two come from Kiteto and Monduli Districts (Parkipuny, 1991:23).   


It must be noted that a licence to shoot an elephant for instance was US $ 4,000. This is what the Government earned. Between 1988 and 1992, 154 elephants were licensed to be shot (WWF, undated), which earned the Government US $ 616,000 as license fees only. How much did the local communities earn in this period? In any case whatever peanut was given to local communities was accounted by marvellous publicity. Government functionaries are invited as guests of honour surrounded by popular mass media! This (see Box 3) is [original emphasis] benefit from the “Community Based Wildlife Conservation” indeed (Ndaskoi, 2002).


                     Box 3: Pauperisation in Loliondo, Ngorongoro District

              The owner of Otterlo Business Company (OBC), a Brigadier General from the United Arab Emirates called "the Arab," received a ten-year permit to hunt in Ololosokwan and ten neighbouring villages. In return, according to Government regulations, OBC is required to pay 25% of their revenues to the District Council.

OBC was also contracted to provide an additional $ 85, 000 to support village water projects. Villagers claimed, however, that they were never party to the contract, which was signed by the former MP on their behalf. Moreover, there is no formal mechanism for local participation in decision-making about hunting concession in the Tanzanian Government, which leaves local communities at the mercy of higher authorities and private interests.   

Villagers report regular sightings of lorries carrying herds of young wildlife, been transported to airfields for shipment overseas. In at least one case they witnessed an aircraft being filled with young wildlife at the Loliondo airstrip. "…is this conservation according to the Government?" "We were told to allow these companies to enter our land, that they would conserve the wildlife. Look what they are doing!" These were some of the comments made by the local community. The initial shock has been overcome by cynicism given the failure of the Government at all levels to respond effectively to stop the plunder.

At the same time, the entire District Administration and the town along with it depend on OBC for basic infrastructure support. This includes electricity for most of Loliondo; the local airport (rehabilitation and maintenance); road repair and maintenance, as observed and reported to us.


Source: (Adapted and modified from Mbilinyi, 2000). 


What shocks even more is the fact that villagers are not and have never been in a position to negotiate or to be part of the negotiating sides on how to share the earnings from the wildlife, because they are not well informed. This skimpy understanding disarms villagers from assessing the fairness of what they get (see Tables 2 & 3). Nowhere are the percentages of earnings are stipulated as far as local communities share is concerned. They receive what they are given as purely a token!


            Table 2: Tarangire National Park (TNP) visitors’ statistics[12]

Year                        Total visitors              Revenue (TShs).

1998/1999                41,147                       789,304,100

1999/2000                50,668                       894,374,471

2000/2001                58,060                    1,095,987,776

            Source: Interview with Tarangire National Park                                        


           Table 3: Handouts from TNP to villages (and schools) from 1997/1998-July 2001

           No. of projects handed over       No. of Villages        No. of Districts     Amount (TShs) 

                     42                                        18                             5                    165,614,139.60

            Source: (Porokwa, 2000) & interview with Tarangire National Park


These “projects” are aimed at, among other things, reducing poaching. Ironically, within the time framework in which TANAPA handed over the “projects” to communities poaching escalated. In 1998, 23 poachers were arrested in and round Tarangire National Park. 70 poachers were arrested in 1999. In the year 2000, 80 poachers were arrested (interview with TNP). Above all, over 1,000 poachers were arrested in 1999, the highest number of arrests made per year for the past 44 years in Tanzania (Guardian April 7, 2001). TANAPA might be having the reason(s) for the escalation.

Once more, TANAPA has failed to understand that the interest of tourists from the West is in conflict with those of rural people in Africa. The agency is trying to let the rural people be tourists in wildlife-protected areas, like national parks. It may test much to take a villager to visit the huge towns like London but not to visit beasts in the local parks, something a Westerner would wish to do before he die. In other words, what seems to matter to the outside world means little to villagers. 

In a period of 5 years, “projects” (Table 3 above) were allegedly given to approximately 300,000 villagers living adjacent to the park. Strangely, about 100 park employees would get upward of TShs.370,166,494 as salaries and other benefits in 2001/2002 fiscal year (TNP, 2002:7). While Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) may boast of the handouts, there are questions to be asked about “Community Conservation Services”, viz.


1.     What is the value of the “projects”?

2.     Who was an independent auditor?

3.     Is it true that investment in social services were at the top of the priority list of the villagers?

4.     What is the value of communities’ belongings destroyed by beasts in those five years?

In the meantime, it is difficult to understand that what was channelled to local communities is benefits accrued from the wildlife sector. This is because while TANAPA was granting help to communities, it was almost the same time the agency, with a bowl in hand as all the poor do, begging handouts from international wildlife conservation agencies like African Wildlife Foundation. Lake Manyara and Tarangire gained the status of national parks in 1960 and 1969 respectively. They received tourists 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and 4 weeks a month for over 33 long years. Sadly, the said parks depend on foreign aid for even the basic infrastructure as clarified:    

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through Partnership Options for Resources use Innovations project being implemented by AWF, has provided equipment worth $ 643,413 to improve roads in Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks. Water supply will be provided to seven ranger posts in Tarangire, six to Lake Manyara, a visitor centre in each of the parks, signposts and field guides and maps. 27 radios will be provided to improve communication and combat poaching. Transport has been improved by the provision of six vehicles. TANAPA has been assisted in improving community conservation. The parks were expected in 1999 to receive about 55, 000 tourists each, about 10% of them Americans (The Guardian January 1, 2000).

It can be said truthfully; too that African wildlife can just as well do without foreign aid. It must be spelt out in no uncertain terms exactly where the billions of shillings in royalties pumped into the parks or the treasury for the said over 33 long years have been going (Happiness ene Milia pers.comm. 08.09.02). If not, then one can assume that the bulk of this money fell and it is still falling into bottomless pits, of which Tanzania seems to be endowed with so many. Even if the money was (is) committed to external debt payments that was (is) one of the pits. Since Tanzania started in earnest paying for its debts, the debt has kept on rising instead of diminishing!

In all honesty, why should TANAPA be a professional beggar or a receiver of crumbs? Unfortunately the tragedy, like many others, is praised as “sustainable development.” Development must be measured on the basis of how much better the people ate, dressed and lived, but not in terms of export performance and the badly needed foreign currency (Babu, 1981 & Gill, 1993). Money means very little to rural people (World Vision, 1993). They have sources, which are not easy to inspect. So, much empirical evidence is strikingly contrary (Chambers, 1997).

There is nothing with which one can compare with Ngorongoro (Grzimek, 1960:47). It is the only remaining best rangeland for the Maasai (Fosbrooke, 1972:94; Parkipuny, 1991 & Saibull & Carr, 1981). Thus the Maasai accepting eviction from Ngorongoro, Ngorongoro Conservation Area in particular in order to give room for wildlife or anything else is fatally damaging (Ndaskoi, 2002).

5         Good News for the Lion is a Terrible Tragedy for the Deer

The Barabaigs traditional economic activity is agro-pastoralism. The Hadza and the Maasai ethnic groups depended, almost entirely, on hunting, gathering and pastoralism respectively. The Government supports the spontaneous and organic immigration of peasant onto rangelands and hunters-gathers lands on the grounds of exercise of common rights of all citizens for resources within the borders of their country, irrespective of places of origin of individuals (Parkipuny, 1991b). The Government just gazettes the land for “national interest.”

This denies indigenous access to resources vital to the viability of flexible nomadism and sustainable traditional hunting[13]. They are simply thrown out of their ancestral lands and left to find for themselves space to make out a living. This in turn pushes these internal refugees to enter territories of other people thus leading to tension.

The Hadza whose home is present day Mbulu District, particularly in the Lake Eyasi basin, are very few. It is believed that they hunted in areas extending to present-day Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks and in or adjacent to the Ngorongoro Crater (Fosbrooke, 1972:156). They are, as stated earlier, not mentioned in any Tanzanian legislation. This implies that they will sooner or later disappear like American Red Indians. The Hadza today are wandering in more marginal lands of Central Tanzania. Their land is being alienated by the Government for various “development schemes” and engulfed by peasants and pastoralists. The Barabaigs lived for several centuries in Hanang Districts of Arusha Region (Lane, 1991) and Ngorongoro (Fosbrooke, 1972:157).

It is said that Maasailand extend from Mkomazi through Upare to the southern foothills of Kilimanjaro and runs northward between Kilimanjaro and Meru (Kivasis, 1953). To the West the Maasai took in the whole of Maasai Steppe extending southwards to include today known villages on the Handeni-Kondoa road, Swakini, Kijungu and Mgera. The extreme westerly limit of the Maasailand is the West of the Serengeti (Fosbrooke, 1951; 1972; Mpaayei, 1954 & Thomson, 1885).

Northern Tanzania was previously part of an extended pastoral system whose rangeland resources were commonly used by wildlife and livestock (Parkipuny & Berger, 1989; Fosbrooke, 1972:94; Thomson 1885 & Grizmek, 1960). Besides pastoralists there were hunters. When colonialists evicted the Serengeti Maasai, they were promised land in Ngorongoro. Historically and legally, the Maasai are allowed to live with wildlife in Ngorongoro. The provision is giving conservationists who want the area to be a national park a hard time. Maasai used to reside in Ngorongoro Crater (Fosbrooke, 1972; Parkipuny, 1991 & Shivji, 2001) until 1974, when they were ejected.

It was initially promised that humans living in the area would not be marginalized. In the words of the Governor, Sir Richard Turnbull, addressing the Maasai Federal Council on August 27, 1959:

 “Another matter which closely concerns the Maasai is the new scheme for the protection of the Ngorongoro Crater. I should like to make it clear to you all that it is the intention of the Government to develop the Crater in the interests of the people who use it. At the same time the Government intends to protect the game animals of the area; but should there be any conflict between the interests of the game and the human inhabitants, those of the latter must take precedence” (Parkipuny, 1991:22 & Grzimek 1960:246).

This promise is as dead as Turnbull himself in present day Tanzania. This was only a compromise for swards were drawn[14]. All told, the Maasai under the leadership of their Member of Parliament, Edward ole Mbarnoti, argued that if the Maasai do not eat wild meat, if the Maasai do not cultivate, if the Maasai have all along lived side by side with wildlife and if the Maasai were evicted from Serengeti and promised land in Ngorongoro, what moral, legal or whatever grounds can anybody stand on and order the Maasai to vacate Ngorongoro?

But in order to live harmoniously with wildlife in Ngorongoro, “The Maasai were promised everything possible: wells, schools, dispensaries- but virtually none of these promises has been kept. Consideration is given to every gazelle, but much too little care is given to the people and their living space in these areas” (Watschinger, undated: 52). The rights of the Ngorongoro Maasai have never been given explicit primacy (Ndaskoi, 2002). The following quote is another testimony.


The villagers claimed that the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority cares less about the people in the area than it does for the wildlife and physical environment (Arthem 1981:16)…. Once a unique effort to sustain both wildlife and pastoralists, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is today just another park or reserve, and a poorly managed at that (Adams & McShane, 1996: 53)…Maasai is a tribe in turmoil (Ndaskoi, 2002).

And more is to be expected. A letter written to the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism by the Ngorongoro Chief Conservator, E. B. Chausi, on May 4, 2001 read:


Jana tarehe 3/5/2001, Menejimenti ya NCAA na Uongozi wa Wilaya ya Ngorongoro tuliwasilisha matatizo ya kilimo kinachoendelea Hifadhini Ngorongoro na suala la wahamiaji haramu NCA katika Mkutano wa Kamati ya Ushauri ya Mkoa wa Arusha. Maazimio ya Kamati katika suala hili yalikuwa ni pamoja na: -…. (2) ….na kuweka utaratibu wa kuhamishia nje ya Hifadhi idadi ya mifugo na familia za wakazi zitakazozidi (3) Utaratibu wa kuwahamisha wahamiaji nje ya Hifadhi ufanyike mara baada ya kupatikana maeneo ya kuwahamishia, nje ya Hifadhi na kama itabidi nje ya Wilaya na Mkoa.

The most persistent illusion in the conservationists’ vision of the Maasai is that the community is static. Pushed hard against the wall by development paradigms, the community is changing with alarming proportions. The late Ndooto ole Muress, oloiboni of Ngorongoro Highlands had never seen a printed page, but was graced with intellect and charisma. His concern was always his people, and their fight for survival (Saibull & Carr, 1981). He had a clear vision of what was in store.


We [iloibonok] had considerable influence over our people in organising inter-tribal warfare, and our warriors were once a fighting people who saw glory only in battle… There is nothing left for us, and for them. Our people are on the verge of drastic change. It is bound to happen… Perhaps not in my lifetime.  (ibid: 64).    

Ole Muress died six months later. Cattle are gone. Agriculture may be an alternative. The illegal immigrants and encroaching agriculturalists referred to in the above quoted letter are, almost entirely, the Maasai. But agriculture is a threat to wildlife survival. In order to save wildlife from extinction conservation agencies, the slave-masters of globalisation era, resort to all sorts of means-from deceiving to outright force- to alienate land for wildlife. The following example is illustrative.


Villages like Engutotoosumbat, Ingurman, Oltulelei, Engung’u, Lorkujita, Orgilai, Loomunyi, loondolwo and Ilkiragarie are located on a fertile mountain, Olormot. There is the best rangeland in the area. A generous spring, Loong’arkutikie, ensures a constant water supply. The Maasai started maize cultivation on this area, the biggest threat in the eyes of conservationists. Conservationists started to invest into social services such as water, education, health and others down the barren plain, Engonini. These services have attracted many, but not all, Maasai down there. As a result those who are resisting moving down are being urged to do so. A sort of a national park is being cleverly created on the best land (Maanda lole Koringo pers. comm. O7.09.02).           

Unfortunately, the rural people have been incapable of seeing through the clever frauds that conservation agencies have contrived in order to gain more wildlife-protected areas in Tanzania. Moringe ole Parkipuny patriotically recorded how often conservationists flattered the Maasai:

When Serengeti National Park, inclusive of the Ngorongoro Highlands, was first established in 1940 the Maasai responded with categorical refusal to obey Government orders, which required them to vacate their homeland. This created the crisis which was settled by the 1958 compromise agreement. The Government opted to split the land into two entities: Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area which was to be run as a multiple land use area. The Maasai conceded to this compromise but only after the Government promised them guaranteed rights of occupation to the land, priority of interest and development of compensation water in Ngorongoro… several dams were constructed…boreholes were drilled…However, these water sources soon proved inferior to the permanent natural supplies of Moru, western Serengeti and Ngare Nanyuki, which the Maasai lost with the creation of the Serengeti National Park (Parkipuny, 1991:21ff).     

Probably, the Maasai will carry the burden of the above-referred blind compromise to their graves.

The community must take deliberate steps to defend its future. This is possible for:

There is nothing in the law to indicate, even remotely, that Maasai rights in Ngorongoro were or have been extinguished. The problem arises in terms of the extensive statutory powers of regulation that the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority has over the lands in the area. Can it be said that these powers can coexist and/or are compatible with the deemed rights of occupancy? What about the statutory powers of the Authority to construct roads, buildings, etc. and to prohibit, control and restrict residence and settlement in the area, and even restrict and prohibit access to specified areas within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area which directly impinge on the deemed rights? (Shivji & Kapinga, 1998:30ff).

The term “agriculture” is narrowly being used to refer to crop cultivation. Pastoralism is ignored! This bias has led to cultivation expansion on the expense of herding. This in turn has led to tremendous contraction of rangelands. The best land is appropriated and handed over to investors and other schemes. Tanganyika Cattle Products Ltd. with the Government support alienated 25,000 acres out of 115,000 acres controlled by Ololosokwan Village authority. In 1987, recommendations were made to turn 34,176 hectares into agrarian in Loliondo (NLUPC, 1987 & Parkipuny, 1990).

The Government supports this brazen land appropriation. The biggest fuss came in 1979 when the Government alienated land to a German called Hermus Phillip Steyn who established a ranch in Monduli District. Steyn and the Monduli District Surveyors went off and demarcated 381,000 acres (approximately 400 square miles) between Tarangire National Park and Simanjiro District.

Sometimes later the Government declared Steyn a prohibited immigrant. How he entered Tanzania in the first place begs a bunch of questions. So bold was Steyn that he could even fix the Government itself. Let its mouthpiece bear witness:

Police in Dar Es Salaam are investigating the smuggling of TShs.7,650,000 to Kenya, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Liani said. A Kenyan Superintendent of Police, Norbert Oluoch Obanda, charged of corruptly obtaining TShs.47,000 from Hermus P. Steyn, a Tanzanian resident. The money, the prosecution claimed, was an inducement to stop legal proceedings against Steyn for entering the money into Kenya. Born on May 3, 1933 in Outjo in Namibia, Steyn owns two Cessna planes and has a landing strip on his ranch. According to immigration sources Steyn is of West Germany but of British origin according to the Registrar of Companies. He is a Kenyan national and is a director of four limited companies (Daily News July 8, 1981).

The Government supported Steyn to put hundreds of thousands pastoralists of Monduli and Kiteto Districts at a very awkward corner[15]. When the Government ejected him, his 99-years lease was revoked. It reissued the lease to the National Food Corporation, instead of to villagers. There are many such people supported by the Government today contrary to the will of the indigenous people.

Another writer reports, “One Irish company was given a certificate of approval for a project which involved granting of a right of occupancy in Simanjiro plains of the then Kiteto District sometime in 1991. The proposal was to occupy land, which fell across the migration path of wildlife, particularly wildebeest. The occupier would shoot game when they stepped on his land and export game meat to Europe where it is increasingly preferred to other red meat” (Shivji, 2001:25).

The project had earlier been rejected by the Wildlife Department on the ground that it would have had very harmful effect on the production cycle of wildlife. The land that was proposed to be appropriated also contained a number of pastoral villages (ibid.).

In the hunting blocks, cheating by investors is a normal phenomenon. A pastoral Non-Governmental Organisation argued that the African Wildlife Foundation is only interested in having an investor in the pastoral land no matter how crude the contract between villagers and the investors might be. The following are a few examples. Emboreet village signed a five-year agreement between it and Oliver’s Camp but the villagers do not trust the company because it has been delaying payment of fees and it is not transparent (Sikoyo, 2001). Having 4,000 acres of rangeland in the hands of the so-called investor was the decision of village authority, yet the Camp was playing tricks so as to grab 72,000 acres. In 1997, the authorities against the will of pastorals who simply wanted their rangeland, signed an agreement between the village and Rickshaw Safaris Ltd.

Conservation agencies extended deception to Lolkisalie Village also. Two rival tour companies namely Bundu Safaris and Oliver’s Camp wanted to invest in the village. Hiding behind Wildlife Management Areas, each of the said companies wanted the land for its exclusive use. In this Lenox Lewis atmosphere, the rangeland was threatened. The villagers were not involved at all. The concept of “participation” was left to the whims of unconcerned staff of the African Wildlife Foundation and the village authority. And there is little doubt that the village authority was ignorant of legal technicalities such as “lease agreement, contracts and negotiations” (Sikoyo, 2001:17).

As long as they are at the safe side, the village authorities take what they are given by the investor(s) or the facilitator(s). Then they play blind leaving the masses of villagers to sink deep into the seas of grave sufferings such as the loss of livelihoods.  

In 1992, one of the most remarkable land scandals, Loliondo Gate scandal I, in independent East Africa happened. It was when the Government issued a 10-year hunting permit, under the controversial agreement, to the Brigadier Mohammed Abdulrahim Al-Ali of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates who owns the Otterlo Business Corporation Ltd (OBC). The grabbed land is a birthright of thousands of villagers of Arash, Soitsambu, Oloipiri, Ololosokwan, Loosoito and Oloirien villages of Loliondo Division, Ngorongoro. A Parliamentary Committee chaired by Phillip Marmo, then Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, was formed to probe the saga. It revoked the dirty agreement. Unscrupulously, a similar agreement was established.

In January 2000, OBC was granted another 5-year hunting permit in the same area. The company constructed an airstrip. As usual, without the villagers’ consent. The villagers have been witnessing live animals being exported through the airstrip. OBC constructed structures near water sources. Hearing of the new permit, the Maasai sent a 13-men protest delegation led by the traditional leader, Olaigwanani, Sandet ole Reya to Dar Es Salaam in April 2000. The intention was to sort out the issue with the President of the Republic, Benjamin Mkapa. Unfortunately, they did not see him. 

However, the delegation managed to hold a press conference at MAELEZO, National Information Corporation Centre. The Maasai contemplated a number of actions to be taken against both the Government and the Arab in connection with the plunder of the resources. They went to great lengths to say that before a mass exodus of the Maasai to Kenya the first thing was to eliminate wild animals (The Guardian April 11, 2000). Thereafter, the villagers retreated to Loliondo.

The general election was scheduled for 2000, so the saga had to be explained away. The official statement was that power hungry opposition politicians were pushing the elders and that all the claims by the Maasai were “unfounded” and “baseless.”[16] Perhaps annoyed by the politicians’ brass, The Guardian followed the delegation in Loliondo. The paper sold like hot cakes, it is said, when it started to do the series of the story. Here is part of what was written 

Maasai elders in Loliondo, Arusha Region, who recently declared a land dispute against Otterlo Business Corporation Ltd, a foreign game-hunting firm, have accused some top Government officials of corrupt practices, saying the conflict is not political. The Arusha Regional Commissioner, Daniel ole Njoolay, recently described the simmering land dispute between the Maasai pastoralists and the United Arab Emirates firm, with hunting blocks in Loliondo Game Controlled Area, as a political issue. Francis Shomet [the former Chairman for Ngorongoro District Council] claimed that Njoolay had misled Tanzanians to believe that the allegations recently raised by Maasai elders were unfounded and baseless. Fidelis Kashe, Ngorongoro District Council Chairman maintained, “We cannot stand idle to see our land being taken away by Arabs. We will kill all the animals in the area as these are the ones attracting the Arabs into our land” (The Guardian May 30, 2000).  

The next morning Government officials were reported to have said the following:


The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Zakia Megji, yesterday assured Ngorongoro residents that no land has been sold or grabbed by Arabs in Loliondo. Flanked by the Arusha Regional Commissioner, Daniel ole Njoolay and the Director of Wildlife, Emanuel Severre, Meghji commented, “There is no clause on the sale of land in the contract signed between OBC and the six villages of Ololosokwan, Arash, Maaloni, Oloirien, Oloipiri and Soitsambu.” However an inquiry conducted by The Guardian in Loliondo last week established that the Maasai elders, who recently asked for Government intervention to solve the misunderstanding, were not involved in the re-lease of the hunting block to the company. According to Megji, her probe established that the building has been constructed about 400 metres from the water source, 200 metres more than the distance recommended by law. But The Guardian investigation shows that the structures are less than 50 metres from a spring. And another spring has dried up (The Guardian May 31, 2000).

Underline two points. First, the Minister said the building has been constructed 400 metres from the water source. Second, “The Guardian investigation shows that the structures are less than 50 metres from a spring.” Now unless one’s mathematics teacher at school was daft, there is a huge different between 50 and 400! When did 50 metric metres turn to mean 400 metric metres? Yet the “Arab” is still plundering resources. Suffice it to say that any honest person would have told the Government that this course of action is like sticking a pin into the most sensitive part of the human body.

Pasture loss in Ololosokwan, Ngorongoro District with respect to various conflicting interests and concerns that have just been discussed was best summarised in a 2000 study by Professor Marjorie Mbilinyi of the University of Dar Es Salaam. Her succinctly written paper deserves quotation in full.


Struggles over land have had a long history in Ololosokwan. A study was carried out in 1996 by Oxfam and local NGOs under the leadership of KIPOC to study the issues in more detail. The major protagonists in this conflict, aside from local villagers, are three private companies: Tanganyika Cattle Products Ltd (TCP), Conservative Corporation (ConCorp), and Orttelo Business Corporatio, otherwise known as “the Arab”-all vying for control over land within the orbit of the village. TCP set up a private game viewing area with a tourist lodge within village boundaries, with the blessing of the Government and alienated 25,000 acres of land from the total of 115,000 controlled by the village Government.


The land in question includes the best pasture and water resources in the village. They succeeded to corrupt local village and district officials and elected representatives, as well as elements within central Government, so as to persuade the village council to surrender the land to the central Government, which in turn handed it over to TCP in the form of a title deed in the early 1990s…. The village Government succeeded in winning their case in High Court, with financial support for legal charges from Oxfam.


However, the new ‘owner’ of the rights of occupancy of TCP, that is ConCorp, has been even more aggressive in promoting its own interests. The president was forced to intervene when he visited Ngorongoro in 1998, on behalf of the villagers, and declared publicly that ConCorp was now restricted to about 15 acres of land…. This did not stop efforts by ConCorp and its allies in the Lands Ministry, and local Governments, to press forward with their land claims after [original emphasis] the president’s statement (Mbilinyi, 2000:9). 


As of this date of writing, ConCorp is still operating in the village albeit villager’s genuine opposition. This is a mockery of law and politics of Tanzania. If the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, “the ultimate giver and taker of life” [Professor Issa Shivji’s phrase], could not make investors abide by the regulations who else can? It can be safely concluded that fate has to decide for the future of, just like other minority groups, the Maasai.

In 1951, the colonialists declared the land on which the Maasai and their ancestors for hundreds of years had lived (Farler, 1882; Hollis, 1905 & Fosbrooke, 1951), Mkomazi Game Reserve. The Maasai lived in Mkomazi well beyond 1776 (Kivasis, 1953). Initially, the Maasai were allowed to stay on as before. In 1974, a new Conservation Act (MNRT, 1974) was passed requiring the Maasai to leave. However, this was not enforced until 1988, following the usual outlook of international conservationists to exclude human inhabitation, when a new conservation programme was launched at the reserve and the donors insisted the Maasai be evicted. “Named among the donors who [had] put eviction as a condition for support to the reserve are the East African Wildlife Society, Frankfurt Zoological Society and African Wildlife Foundation” (Saning’o & Heidenreich, 1996).

The Maasai resisted moving from the reserve. Game wardens forced them out by beating the pastoralists and setting ablaze several houses (ibid.). Evictions harmed the people causing loss of livelihoods, shelter and increasing pressures on surrounding communities (Shivji, 2001:36). The pastoralists were not compensated nor were they given an alternative land. Droves of them left to other marginal lands in the country and some, allegedly, to Kenya. Some remained living between the reserve and farmlands of the Pare community. This has resulted into a grave tension between innocent farmers and internal refugees, the Maasai (Ibrahim enoo Surutia pers.comm. 02.06.02).[17]

If as inevitable cattle cross the boundary they are impounded by armed Reserve Staff (Fosbrooke, 1991:3). To reclaim their cattle, the owners have first to pay TShs.40,000 as a condition to be allowed by rangers to identify cattle and a separate fine for each stray animal (Saning’o & Heidenreich, 1996).

Two counsels from the Legal Aid Committee of the Faculty of Law, University of Dar Es Salaam, filed a suit in the High Court. Their main contentions were that (a) the 53 plaintiffs were natives who occupied Mkomazi area had customary titles to that land, (b) that mere declaration of a game reserve does not extinguish customary rights, (c) that to be able to extinguish customary titles lawfully one has to invoke the due process provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, and (d) that the evicted people be restored to their lands and be paid compensation for loss of property and injury which they suffered during and as a result of the evictions (Juma, 2000 cited in Shivji, 2001).

The High Court agreed with the basic contentions of the plaintiffs but was of the opinion that the Maasai claim was time-barred because Mkomazi had become a game reserve in 1974 and therefore restoration would be impractical. The court therefore awarded some monetary compensation and that the Government should find them alternative land (Shivji, 2001).

The plaintiffs were dissatisfied with the part of the judgement and therefore appealed. There was absolutely no doubt that Maasai were ‘natives’ of Mkomazi but the Court of Appeal, in an inexplicable topsy-turvy reasoning, totally overturned the decision of the High Court, even that part which was not appealed from by either party holding that the evidence showed that the Maasai were not the original or first inhabitants of Mkomazi and therefore they did not have ancestral customary titles (ibid.). In a bitter comment on this utterly novel notion of “first tribe” in the land jurisprudence of Tanzania, one of the legal aid counsels who represented the Maasai, wrote:


We have all along believed that the law of Tanzania is settled around the proposition that proof of customary land right in Tanzania is not pegged on a tribe or tribes or which tribe moved into a geographical area under consideration. We have all along believed that customary land tenure is proved if there is preponderance of evidence showing use and occupation of land in accordance with customary laws and practices (Juma, 2000).

The fragility of customary land rights, which in effect is the legal regime governing common pool resources such as grazing lands and village commons, particularly in relation to the state, has once again been confirmed and reinforced by such court decisions (Shivji, 2001). 

2001 was a victorious year to African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and its partners when they established the Tanzanian Land Conservation Trust, which was, to quote AWF own words, “designed in such a way that it could secure the wildlife corridor between the parks. The President [Benjamin William Mkapa] turned over the ranch with a 99-year lease to the Trust” (AWF, 2001b: 12). AWF staffs are “investigating possible use of the land as a rhinoceros sanctuary-increasing the number of rhinoceros and creating a new visitor attraction” (ibid.,2000). So the ranch has fallen into the hands of conservation agencies that want the wildlife corridor and tourist attractions. It should be recalled that black rhino project, the reason for Maasai ejection, was to be started in Mkomazi. 

Strange as it may seem, all twenty villagers interviewed in Minjingu and Naitolia including respective village authorities[18] had no even a clue of the said lease. Likewise, they had no idea of the so-called “Tanzania Land Conservation Trust.” Livestock are not allowed in the ranch (Lemuta ole Loibanguti pers.comm.08.09.02). But the villagers were initially promised that the ranch would be handed over to them for pasture (Laurence ole Mungoro pers.comm. 08.09.02). That this did not happen is a source of great disappointment to the pastoralists (Nduminsari Ngunda pers.comm. 08.09.02). Once more, the pastoral community is plunged in sorrow and loss of hope for future.  

In black and white terminology, community participation in conservation is outright deception! Everything is proposed, discussed and decided by development theorists, few of them Africans. To justify this travesty of justice, the theorists claim that they were simply “facilitators.” Dangerously, now the fashion is “community participation”. International conservation agencies are clamouring that they are practicing it (visit Assuming it is true, why then the village authorities in Minjingu and Naitolia knew completely nothing about at least Tanzania Land Conservation Trust?      

The most threatened rights of indigenous people in the region are sacred places like Endim-e-Naimina-Enkiyio (“forest of the lost child”) and Edoinyo-oo-Ilmorwak (“hill of elders”). The Maa speaking people, for instance, have a sacred area within the present-day Arusha municipality. For many centuries, the Maasai male initiation ceremony beginnings, engipaata, has been taking place in the area called Purka endowed with a water source and elerai, acacia in Maa language, forest.

The colonialists appropriated the area and established the Burka Coffee Estate and the Maasai continued to be marginalised. Corrupt officials and a few Maasai traditional leaders are further chopping pieces out of the remaining sacred land. Sadly, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has in recent years grabbed the whole area, fenced it and built its headquarters named Mwalimu Nyerere Conservation Centre. So far nobody, man or woman, raised a finger in protest.  

The Maasai, and all other villagers in Tanzania, were (are) neither united nor organised enough to withstand all this extend of state bullying. They lack unity, organisation and direction which would have enabled them to face the teething trouble posed by the state.    

5.1        Focus on Minjingu Village in “Kwa Kuchinja Corridor”

Minjingu village is adjacent to Tarangire National Park (TNP), and it is over 40 years old. It is divided into five sub-villages namely, Almasi, Oltukai, Olasiti, Olevolos and Kakoi. Approximately, the village land area is 23,860 hectares. The village is registered and has a title[19] deed to its land, although, it overlaps with a Game Controlled Area. Also it overlaps with Kwa Kuchinja (KK) Wildlife Corridor, buffer zones and dispersal areas (Shombe-Hassan, 1998), which are not statutory. Tarangire River is very important for the park and the village, though each has different interests often conflicting with one another. This results into conflicts in which the powerful has the “right.” TNP views the river as its “heart” without which the park will die. TNP argues that in the dry season many of the migratory wildlife species come back to the permanent waters of the river until the onset of the rains when they migrate again for better pastures.

Villagers depend on the Tarangire River since it is the source of firewood, sand for building, building poles, thatch grass, water, and pastures. Above all, it is a sort of sacred place where the Maasai take their youths for initiation preparations. Over half of the land area of Kakoi and Olevolos sub-villages is cut-off during the rain season but villagers argue that the whole area had been allocated in 1990s to two young age groups namely Ilkidotu and Ilkorianga. Having no bridge the two age groups could not inhabit and clear the land. 

The area has been demarcated as a Wildlife Management Area on the ground that it is an idle land! Minjingu is now entirely surrounded by wildlife-protected areas, and wild animals attack villagers from all directions. In the South frontier there is Tarangire National Park and a thin strip buffer zone in the name of Wildlife Management Area (WMA) running form South East to the park main gate. In the West there is Mweka Study Area and the portion of Minjingu village WMA meeting Vilima Vitatu village. In the South there is the large part of Kakoi and Olevolos sub-villages area designated for WMA. Neither the Wildlife Division nor Minjingu village leaders know the size of the village area under WMA (Ndaskoi, 2002).

The area along the Tarangire River is endowed with a wide range of wildlife species. It is this fact that pulls hunting companies to flood the village. Tanzania Big Game Safaris Ltd. had been hunting in the village before the establishment of WMAs. Northern Hunting Safaris and Kibo Safaris (EA) Limited also were hunting and photographing respectively in the area.

While the former has been operating mainly in the Vilima Vitatu village, it has also been operating in Minjingu village in what seems to be gross violation of the laws and the regulations. The latter started operation in Minjingu village only a few years ago. 

Villagers complained that Kibo Safaris, enjoying a full support from the local authorities, threatened to evict them from a site it saw conducive to build a camp along Tarangire River in 1999. The plan, villagers claim, was to evict them altogether so as the company could build a camp for tourists. The authorities gave the investor another site beyond the river only when villagers were even ready to die than vacate their birthright land.  

5.2        Violence was used to Establish WMA in Minjingu 

Minjingu is one of the villages practising “Wildlife Management” in Kwa Kuchinja. The African Wildlife Foundation has been influencing the weaving and implementation of WMAs in Tanzania (AWF, 2000). Now nearly half of Minjingu land area is designated to the Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The programmes are being established without legal framework (Shivji, 2001). The modalities as to how WMAs can be established are not provided by the paradox wildlife policy 1998. The leaders did not support the villagers. The reason for this, it is said, is that all except one of the eleven leaders, who have been alternating for four decades, exchanging leadership positions in the village Government, come from the peri-urban part of the poorest village.

The villagers argued that they were forced to sign away their village land. They complained that in Mbulungu they were evicted because the area was badly needed for WMA establishment. Villagers of Kakoi and Olevolos sub-villages joined together and built an office in August 2001, which is almost ready. Their intention is to establish their own village and hence fight back for their birthright land. They were discouraged by legal procedures, which they were least informed of, which were alien, complicated and made no sense. The village has not been established as yet. The villagers argue that wildlife must be conserved but not at the expense of the basic human rights, a right to a source of earning a livelihood. Tanzania is being turned into a garden for tourists from the privileged sections of human race. Box 5 is illustrative of conflicts between villagers and investors. 

                Box 5: Land alienation to investors in the name of WMAs


We totally depend on land for survival. We have settled in this part of the Rift Valley for decades. The soil is infertile but there are other climatic advantages, which support crops. The area is infested by tsetse fly but we are practising pastoralism by additional efforts. Our livestock suffer from diseases transmitted by wildlife. The beasts feed on pastures of domestic animals. Our children have no schools to go to. No hospitals. No veterinary services. Our leaders, laws and police are against us. We almost lack everything good for life.

Continually, the Government that feeds its beasts on our crops is starving us. We have no doubt that protected areas were intended to serve the colonialists. However, unlike our postcolonial Governments, the colonial one protected people and crops from raiding animals. This Government has many grips. The worst is pressing us further down below the poverty datum. Wild animals destroy our properties. Tarangire National Park wardens often invade our homes searching for “poachers.” Sometimes they beat us without reason. They even dare equal 1 elephant to 100 of us and 1 zebra to 10 people. Some of us have vacated the area due to this maltreatment.

Our brothers are increasingly migrating to urban centres where they are employed mainly as watchmen. This exposes them faster to deadly diseases, HIV/AIDS in particular.  Legal provisions prohibit us from entering the park. There are, however, times when livestock escape and enter the park. We are liable for that in many ways. Surprisingly, wild beasts destroy houses and eat stored foodstuff. They compete with livestock and human beings for water in our dam, Marangori. Livestock dies from diseases like malignant catarrh fever transmitted by beasts. We have been witnessing the building of hotels and camps in the park. There are aeroplane strips in the park. The number of tourists visiting the park is increasing. Often, the most visible herds migrating across the plains are cars. All this has spoiled the sensation of wilderness, yet little if anything is said about this.      

The elephant as well as other beasts’ population is increasing. The conservationists hail this increase as one of their conservation efforts success. This increase is being confused. It is mainly the result of human population growth. It pushes animals to concentrate in the park. Conservationists are not alarmed by this kind of increase. If left alone, the beasts will soon turn lush vegetation into barren land. The human beneficiaries of the park are few and largely Western professions: conservationists, keen to protect animal species from extinction and to study habitats preserved in as natural a state as possible. Other beneficiaries are tourists.

Always, we have been bilked of benefits accrued from conservation. We are neither given reports of the wildlife conservation nor do we have voice regarding the terms of benefit sharing let alone ownership of wildlife-protected areas. But we are told the animals belong to us. While there is no explanation for this all, we are shocked by the new vice called Wildlife Management Areas being adjusted abruptly against us.

The United States through her aid agency, USAID, is funding African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). AWF funds a project called Partnership Options for Resources use Innovations. The project operates in the entire Tarangire complex. It impelled the establishment of WMA programme in the area. We were threatened that if we rejected WMA then we would be evicted and the area turned into a wildlife migratory corridor. In 2000, in our absence the WMA boundaries were demarcated and 52 families were evicted by force from Mbulungu! Few of them were given plots, less than an acre per family. As a result many had to leave to unknown destinations.

The de facto owner of the land alienated from us is one man, who is very luck to be fairly treated by life, an investor from town. He owns a tour company called Kibo Safaris (EA) Ltd. It pays less than TShs.1,000,000 per year to the village authorities for making business on our land. This amount is not only very small but it always falls into the bellies of our village leaders. A handful of us could generate more than this amount in a few acres had it not been for wild animals that destroy everything we do.

We wonder why we are deprived of our birthright land. We are very bitter but helpless. Had Tarangire by now been on the brink of extinction the beneficiaries of the wildlife sector would have been very concerned. We would have better life then.


Source: (Adapted from Ndaskoi, 2002). 

It is not surprising to hear a consultant going to ferret out a few villagers using workshops to refute the veracity of the patriotic Kakoi and Olevolos villagers. International conservation agencies have been flattering the world that locals “like” Wildlife Management Areas. This is achieved through workshops in which corruption is used in the name of this and that allowance so as to ensure that every drop of conservation benefactors’ poison go down the throat of local communities.


5.3        Human Development Index in the Village

The primary schools available are Tarangire and Minjingu. Neither of the two was built to educate villagers' children. Tarangire, which is near the park headquarters, was aimed to provide education for the park personnel children. In 1991, out of 100 pupils who sat for Standard Seven National Examinations at Tarangire Primary School only 6 passed. All, park wardens' children or relatives. It is asserted that the trend was almost the same through out 1990s (Ndaskoi, 2002).

There are only one private advanced level secondary schools in the entire Babati District. At least a minimum of TShs.200,000 (US $ 250) is needed to keep a student for a year in private schools. And of course the child must be fed during vacations. Very few, if any, ordinary villagers can afford private education due to poverty (earning less than US $ 1 per day) plus endless wildlife damages. Thus for over 4 decades Minjingu village inhabited by 8,000 (?) people had never nursed a single form six leaver!

 The Government may well claim that poverty is the factor behind this unpleasant state of affair. But this does not hold water. The thing is, the Government is suffering from kleptomania[20]. The reader will be better able to gauge the nature of looting of public funds in Tanzania if one not untypical case is examined in some detail. In the financial year 1998/1999 alone, the Government officials embezzled enough money to erect about 10 universities. The weekly Business Times editorialised:

A project proposal by experts on the construction of Lake University of Mwanza indicates that construction of six faculties may not exceed Tshs.8.84 billion. With Tshs.20 billion one could erect a large university anywhere in Tanzania and the university could be furnished with efficient equipment and qualified academic staff. The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report indicates that Government officials squandered over Tshs.97 billion in the 1998/1999 fiscal year alone. The CAG complained that theft of public funds is escalating (Business Times March 16-22, 2001).

According to the newspaper, with Tshs.97 billion one could build about 200 secondary schools anywhere in Tanzania. There are a total of 113 Districts in Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania). The money stolen would have translated into two modern secondary schools in every District in 1999.

Yet the said amount of money stolen was too dismal that even the Parliament did not notice until the CAG played his patriotic and honest role! And it can also be said truthfully that the theft of public property is, though there is very little documentary evidence about the actual amount stolen every year, escalating. For example TShs.54 billion was stolen during the past financial year i.e. 2001/2002 (The East African August 19-25, 2002). So far nobody was held responsible. 

The only place one could find a water tap and other essential services are within Tarangire National Park residential area and at Minjingu Phosphate Company Ltd (MIPCO). Since MIPCO has been put on sale the associated social services have equally dwindled. There are shallow wells drilled by the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro. Often, they undergo mechanical problems so they are unreliable.

 Like most of rural Africa, there is no electricity in Minjingu. One of the most scaring diseases is malaria and the only public dispensary for all villages is located within the park (Ndaskoi, 2002:21).

5.4        Human-Wildlife Conflict in Minjingu Village

Apart from the fact that wild animals often destroy crops in the fields, elephants can destroy huts and eat stored foodstuffs. Between July 24 and September 09, 2001 elephants in Kakoi and Olevolos sub-villages destroyed several houses and ate stored foodstuffs. Also elephants sometimes threaten peoples’ lives when they turn against villagers trying to scare them away. These events are no longer news and are not reported because, it is claimed, the authorities are unwilling to help.

Through this kind of endless destruction, the conservationists believe that local communities will be scared away from living in or adjacent to wildlife-protected areas (Parkipuny, 1991:23). Even the most cursory survey of villages bordering wildlife protected areas would show beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt that the absence of clear and genuine initiatives being taken by the Government to end these classical atrocities stand for this (Saimalie Lemoya pers.comm. 10.06.01).

These are not hypothetical cases, they are real ones, and they are not the worst. There are few cases of deaths resulting from attacks of other wild animals. Late last year a lion predated a man. No compensation was paid. Of course the “new” Wildlife Policy states, “the government does not intend to introduce a compensation scheme for wildlife damage” (MNRT, 1998:24)[21]. This is exactly what the wildlife conservation lobbyists claim “wildlife is a community development factor.” This position by the supposed policy is attributed in no small measures to the Government irresponsibility. This policy is part of the main problem facing the wildlife sector in Tanzania! 

The technical reports and real facts, as encountered by many researchers in and around wildlife-protected areas of Tanzania, in daily life of the local communities indicate that communities living in and/or bordering wildlife-protected areas are wrapped in an incredibly apologetic state! Assume J.K.Nyerere, “the number one conservator,” was a man of his own words. In a meeting in 1961 called the Symposium on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in Modern African States, held in Arusha Tanganyika, he issued the highly quoted Arusha Manifesto in which he said:

…In accepting the trusteeship of our wildlife we solemnly declare that we will do everything in our power to make sure that our children’s grandchildren will be able to enjoy this rich and precious inheritance (MNRT, 1998:2, Fosbrooke, 1972, Adams & McShane, 1992; 1996:113ff). 

How counterfeit of him? He never meant a single word that he said. Mwalimu Nyerere and his Arusha Manifesto must be spinning in their graves (Ndaskoi, 2002). 

6         The Myth of “Community Based Wildlife Management”

Community Based Conservation is a brainchild of The United Nations Agenda 21 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development or the Earth Summit (UNCED, 1992). Following the horizontal expansion of land uses as a response to human population growth (PRB, 1997), there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for land. This has led to the new “thinking” in conservation.

The strength and logic of the philosophy of managing wildlife with the interest of people in mind emanates from the mesmerised traditional societies sustainable use of resources. It purposefully disregards the fact that traditional societies managed to use land resources sustainably because of technological bankruptcy, low population pressure and the then subsistence lifestyle.

Colonialism blocked this type of conservation. Thus conservationists are over a century too late in their ambition. This is the terrible epoch to rural people who are in a vicious cycle of poverty, ignorance (of the lifestyle imposed upon them), diseases and deaths. Hence the conservationists’ ambition is a fatal miscalculation; it will push ordinary rural peoples to another dead end.

Under what conservation or sustainable use reasons do the Maasai[22], for example, live side by side with the wildlife in Ngorongoro? The often-ignored fact is that technologically locals are not well equipped to wipe out lions and other fierce beasts. Sincerely, why do they need lions and elephants that are a menace as well as destructive and dangerous? It is disturbing to hear a global conservation organisation of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) calibre mincing words and escape unquestioned! For example its director general, Claude Martin, had the audacity to drivel: 

I am talking about the human elements, specifically the position of indigenous people who, over millennia, have followed ways of life that have met naturally the criteria conservationists today we must work so hard to establish. For there is no coincidence in the fact that native peoples and environmental purity are to be found together  (Daily News August 14, 1996).

What a travesty! Conservationists, whose main concern is for wild animals, may applaud such approach. The proposal harbours serious omissions and commissions in all dimensions: social, economic, cultural and political. But all international conservation agencies, without exception, are still caught up in the cement of old thinking and cannot accept that pastorals are not fools. They don’t seem to borrow a leaf from Bob Marley and the Wailers piece of wisdom: “you can fool some people sometimes, but can’t fool all the people all the time.” Why are the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and founders like Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threatening to eject the Maasai altogether from Ngorongoro (Parkipuny, 1991:23 & Shivji & Kapinga, 1998)? This question requires a high level of honest. 

The Maasai, just like other pastoral societies in Africa, have never planed to conserve wildlife. Probably it was coincidental. But there is a very strong thrust in the mainstream thinking that the Maasai are “natural conservators” that those opposing the myth could never hope to match. Be that as it may. The pastorals are in conflicts with wildlife especially predators, lions in particular in spite of their tolerant attitude towards wildlife. The lions feed on livestock, even if not frequently. 

Practicing the right of self-defence, a matter of life and death, the Maasai were in constant conflict with lions, until very recently. Leturesh ole Neremitt had a reputation as a fearless warrior. In two heroic encounters, he had killed a lion and lioness single-handedly. He may be a good witness of what would have happened to lions. In a dramatic style he put it thus:       

Those days we killed so many lions that they no longer roared but barked like dogs (Saibull & Carr, 1981).

While conservationists speak theoretically of community-wildlife integration, practically the local communities are experiencing no less pain in current conservation than the former preservation approach. For example, World Wide Fund supports environmental projects in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region (Eastern Tanzania). The villagers accused the projects of not involving them during the planning stages and villagers claimed that buffer zones were a neat way for the Government to grab more land from them (Kikula, Mnzava & Mung’ong’o, 2001 cited in Shivji, 2001).

Community is a soft name to lull us all to sleep (Francis Shomet pers.comm. 04.09.02). It is a piece of trickery from start to finish (Joseph ole Munga 18.08.02). The legal framework advocates Community Conservation Services (CCS), Community Based Wildlife Management (CBWM), etc. (MNRT, 2000). These are sugarcoated strategies and would not have been all that damaging if and only if its prime movers, conservationists and the Government, took them as policy statements. 

The “policies” are dumb regarding the role of communities on existing wildlife protected areas and put too much emphasis on areas beyond those. This is virtually an extension of wildlife-protected areas (Parkipuny, 1991). Does Tanzania need additional areas for wildlife conservation after having set aside an area bigger than that that supports agriculture, the backbone of the economy? Community based wildlife conservation myth at best makes locals recipients of benefits. At worst it is a grotesque animal threatening to eat local communities up. One analyst put it thus:


It is very explosive to have wildlife-protected areas and other forms of land use adjacent to one another. If the solution to problems facing protected areas cannot be sought by evicting the people from the core areas from which the “threats” are believed to emerge, how can it be sought by integrating wildlife with "unsustainable land uses"? Will peasants and pastorals be allowed to practise their day-to-day socio-economic activities within the areas such as national parks? Conservationists may well use the “community” word. But there is no logic in this kind of thinking, only callous political expedience (Moses Masago pers.comm. 04.09.02).

The question about Participatory Land Use Planning is that whose rights count? Who should involve another? And, the formulation and implementation of these “policies” is too fast. Virtually, the reason is that inclusive and participatory is time consuming because “species are disappearing.” More than that they invite organic development of consensus on some of the sensitive issues. The legislative experience of Tanzania especially with relation to natural resources and environmental management has been against enabling and mandating the communities to manage such resources. Most of these laws were and are based on the command and control approach (Kabudi, 2001:5).


The donors and conservation agencies, whose institutional memory is notoriously short (Shivji, 1997), forgot all the bitterness Tanzanians have as far as communal ownership and management is concerned. The privatisation bug sweeping across Tanzania is due to the fact that the directors looted parastatals clean. Yet neither donors nor the Government is alarmed!


The hidden agenda of the new conservation myth is relatively apparent in the “Tarangire complex”. Here the U.S.A. through its aid agencies like African Wildlife Foundation (why it is not American Wildlife Foundation?) is crucifying locals in the name of the Community Based Conservation.


Tarangire National Park supports one of the largest populations of elephant of any protected area in Tanzania. It is estimated that between 1,550 and 3,300 elephants[23] populate the park during the dry season, with two-thirds of these animals dispersing into surrounding areas during the wet season searching for food. Tarangire now ranks number three in terms of revenue generating after Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National Parks respectively (Business Times March 3-9, 2000). The survival of the park has become a matter of grave concern to conservation biologists following the growth of what is claimed the threats tampering with the raw nerves of the park's biodiversity. With an obvious bias in favour of wildlife, the activists scream for the need to protect the areas adjacent to the park as if the only legitimate socio-economic activity in Tanzania is wildlife conservation.


To the activists, unsustainable land uses include cultivation, overgrazing (not of beasts but livestock) and human settlements. The areas they speak of are those beyond protected areas boundaries like the so-called “foraging grounds, breeding sites, dispersal areas, wildlife migratory routes and corridors.” Thundering of this magnitude disturbs because the fanatics ignore, deliberately, the fact that while local communities have for decades been shouldering the burden of wildlife conservation by bearing sufferings inflicted on them by the pachyderms in many ways, there are legal provisions which make communities liable whenever they cross the park boundary.

Some of the provisions [?] allow even shooting on the spot of any unauthorised person who crosses the border. In the war to save Africa’s “vanishing wildlife”, any poacher must be shot (Adams & McShane, 1996). To illustrate the point that has been made so far one can do no better than recount the Serengeti tragedy. This incident occurred in 1997 and became a big scandal. The following beef from Legal and Human Rights Centre based in Dar Es Salaam is dynamite. Let The Guardian tell:


In 1997, there was an acute drought, which caused hunger in Tarime District of Mara Region. As a result villagers went out (carrying bows, arrows, spears and pangas) hunting to survive. Serengeti National Park wardens killed 20 villagers alleged to be poachers. This was seen as a fulfilment of an order made by the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Juma Ngasogwa, in 1994. He said that poachers should be shot on sight. "Ten hunters fled. The rest were arrested. We were lined up in a single file. With one bullet through the head, the warden killed all except me," Juma Sangire, who lost a younger brother in the shooting said. Wardens shot one of the poachers in the belly after he had surrendered. Six “poachers” were arrested and taken to Borogonya post where they were taken into the bush and shot (The Guardian May 11, 2000). 

This order displays the cruelty of a he-goat such as it have never be seen in Tanzania! It makes one fail to resist asking for how long conservationists will defy all logic while the local communities stand aside and look. Questions remain as to who was ultimately responsible for this murder. The Government has denied being responsible for the killings. This and the whole train of events had turned Tanzania into a pocket edition of apartheid South Africa. To communities bordering wildlife-protected areas, who are condemned from the cradle to the grave because of tourism, it seems that the difference between the former apartheid South Africa and today wild Tanzania is one of degree and not of kind. If the situations were reversed and the villagers treated tourists as they are treated, the problem would be seen by the outside world exactly for what it is and has been.  

Despite there being no legal provisions for corridors, buffer zones, nesting sites etc. areas in Tanzanian Law, the areas have been and still support wildlife. These areas are homes to hundreds of thousands of peasants and pastorals living in several registered villages bordering protected areas. The fate of these people is not known as Western countries through various conservation lobbyists in collaboration with the Government threaten to evict indigenous people from their lands.

Conservationists argue that since no protected area can be a self-contained ecological unit, the core areas, which link the park with other wildlife-protected areas and habitats, should remain intact for the park to maintain its reputation as an “important bio-diversity hot spot.” Maintaining this reputation, it is argued, is in dilemma due to human population growth coupled with demands for land uses that “are not compatible with conservation.” They add that if the increased activities in the areas encircling Tarangire National Park (TNP) are not halted, fragmentation will intensify thus the park will become an ecological island.

The effects of land use that are not compatible with conservation interests are well documented for Kwa Kuchinja “Wildlife Corridor” (KWC), a critical corridor providing ecological link between TNP and Lake Manyara National Park. Tarangire Senior Park Warden, Edward Lenganasa, asserts that the area of TNP is 2,600 km2 and so it cannot be addressed without considering the entire ecosystem which encompasses about 20,500 km2 of the Maasai steppe, including Lolkisalie, Simanjiro Plains, Mto-wa-Mbu Game Controlled Areas etc.

Human-wildlife “integration” approach implies saving wildlife and not both wildlife and the local people. This is expansion of wildlife-protected areas through the Community Based Wildlife Conservation myth. The land is appropriated and then the communities’ interest is ignored thereafter (see box 5 above). These policies are not developmental rather they are anti-people. They make the indigenous land buffer zones for urban and alien people. Why should the indigenous people sacrifice their land for wildlife conservation, which supposedly has a worldwide advantage? This implies strict control of development of locals in the areas outside wildlife-protected areas: 

“…When Serengeti, Amboseli and Maasai Mara were first gazetted, the authorities conceded the rights of the Maasai to continue to live in these protected areas. In due course, however, the pastoralists were forced to vacate their lands. In 1957, the late Professor Bernhard Grzimek offered to raise money with which to purchase the whole of the countryside now occupied by Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), exclusively for wildlife protection and tourism. When the British colonial authorities turned down that offer, he came up with an alternative proposal to place the area under the direct jurisdiction of the United Nations. The idea of annexing the Lake Natron basin to the NCA was mooted in the early 1980s. The Frankfurt Zoological Society has proposed the expansion of Manyara National Park and the establishment of a new conservation area in Simanjiro to cushion Tarangire...” (Parkipuny, 1991).  

Roderick Nash supported the proposal to put Serengeti on sale: “If Tanzania could not prevent poaching in the Serengeti, we will just have to go in and buy the park…” (Nash, 1967). So where is the guarantee that “the international conservation community” would not do just that? Even ten years after the Rio Conference, in which the so-called community conservation was born, the ghost of the Grzimeks is still haunting communities living in and/or near wildlife-protected areas.

At independence, Tanganyika human population was relatively low making land use conflicts rare, under the conditions of technological bankruptcy. Part of land could easily be set aside for the conventional wildlife protection areas without seriously inconveniencing indigenous people. Today Tanzania human population is about 33 million people. One can deduce that the reason for the new tricks called human-wildlife integration is, virtually, a fulfilment of the dreams of widely praised conservation founders, Grzimek et al. The promise of prosperity in “technical papers” is solely meant to enable the conservationists to implement tempestuous decisions without provoking physical confrontations. Thus only the wait-and-see group and its creators can applaud this myth.

Limited investment in wildlife and agricultural sectors coupled with the limits set by nature has resulted into an increase in demand for land to sustain the two. The expansion of the former is among the major sources of land and social conflicts in Tanzania (Ndaskoi, 2002).

Central in these conflicts is crystal clear treatment of conservation as purely a technical science. “The perceived role of science in African conservation springs in part from a deep faith in the scientific method. Science and technology are the most powerful tools that the West has at its disposal. The inhabitants of the primeval African wilderness cannot protect it, many people outside Africa believe, so it follows that the West must take on this task and must send in its finest troops, the science foot soldiers” (Adams & McShane, 1992). Today conservation realities are overwhelmingly social, cultural, economic and political. The successes or failures of conservation are squarely dependent on the extent to which these realities are appreciated (Ndaskoi, 2002:26ff). 

Integration of locals into protected areas has remained theories and useless legislation. Strategies for the integration have been so far focused on avoiding conflicts regarding the use of natural resources, and reduction of pressure of local communities on natural resources. Integration as an account for mutual benefit that results from a participated scheme is out of place. Local communities have been focused as threats to wildlife protected areas and not the other way round. The following quote is an example: “…pastoralists are displacing elephants from their former home ranges at an increasing scale” (Siege, 1995:3). “…the preservationists exonerate the wildlife population of well over two million animals, despite the fact that these animals utilise the same rangelands as only 275,000 livestock”. Locals are viewed as nests of potential poachers. As far as the Authority is concerned, the good Maasai in Ngorongoro are individuals who work as informers (Parkipuny, 1991:23). It is crystal clear that the so-called “participation” is virtually aimed at destroying these nests. 

Condemnation of pastoralists and cultivators as simply trouble-mongers who must be dealt with has never ceased since 1992 when the Rio Conference came up with the CBC philosophy. For example, Dr. Jafar Kideghesho of Wildlife Management at Sokoine University of Agriculture has written a number of papers clamouring for CBC. Yet he writes, “Habitat degradation attributable to severe overgrazing by livestock was the major cause for the decline. The eviction of Maasai pastoralists from the reserve [Mkomazi] in 1988 reversed the situation by lessening the degradation and thus restoring the conducive environment for wildlife species” (Kideghesho, 2001). He does not seem to have even a clue that eviction of people from their land, under any cover, is a “gross violation of human rights.” Praising such crimes should not come from someone who is trumpeting for CBC. 

Concerns over spreading diseases from livestock to wildlife have not ceased either. One animals fanatic wrote: Buffalo herds in Western Serengeti rarely come into contact with cattle. “It had not been possible for them to avoid the killer viruses normally transmitted from domestic animals” (Kakakuona, January-March 2002). This is an inverse to a layman correct understanding. That Africa’s wild animals, particularly buffalo, are reservoirs of the foot-and-mouth disease (Adams & McShane 1992:143). It has not even been “scientifically” denied that wild dogs, foxes and others are not carriers of distemper and rabies. But conservationists cannot see all that. What insolence! 

The photograph on Grzimek (1960) between page 96 and 97 show poachers. Another photograph on Kakakuona April-June 2001 page 63 shows “a poacher carrying his day hunt.” Indigenous people are blamed for the damage they have not caused. There is neither a photograph in the said Grzimek nor in Kakakuona showing a global person, corpulent, male, white, suited and cigar smoking who grow wealthy on blood shed of African wildlife. (If there were, he might sue).

Often the hunters or conservationists kill animals to get a thrill (Fosbrooke, 1972:97). Culling is defended. Itself is a horrifying spectacle. “Rangers sport the elephants by helicopters, then move in with automatic weapons and slaughter an entire herd in minutes, amid the screams of panicked elephants” (Adams & McShane, 1992: 76). Condemnation of traditional hunters is the continuation of the arrogance which exists among conservationists even at this era of “community conservation”.  

Fat contractors, corrupt politicians, international companies and consumers from the North are hidden from sight. Who apologises? Who sees even the cause for apology? Better to blame the victim than to beer the responsibility oneself  (Chambers, 1997). But the Community Based Conservation hullabaloo!

In Tanzania this myth is practiced in a deliberately bent approach. It overlooks the human side of things in its thrust to save the “perishing” African wildlife (Parkipuny, 1991). The point need not be belaboured. Suffice it to quote from Jonathan Adams and Thomas McShane’s The Myth of Wild Africa: Conservation Without Illusion, which put it thus:


In the village of Macao, southeast of the Serengeti National Park there is a regressive Programme. A hunting company operating in the area, using a donation from an American businessman and conservationist, established a US $ 30,000 fund to compensate villagers who pick up wire snares at the rate of US $ 5 a snare. The money also goes to villagers who volunteer information leading to the arrest of poachers, or to the confiscation of a weapon or vehicle that has been used in poaching. This reward scheme, essentially a bribe [emphasis added] paid to rural Africans by rich Americans, stands in direct opposition to the trend toward involving local people in conservation in a meaningful way. The reward scheme cannot support itself, and will last only as long as the benefactor continues to sign the checks (Adams & McShane, 1996:141ff).

The most celebrated (now the most criticised) example of WMAs is the pilot implementation of the Wildlife Policy 1998. The pilot project funded by the Department for International Development (DfID) in Iringa District of Iringa Region adjacent to Ruaha National Park is MBOMIPA the Kiswahili acronym for Matumizi Bora ya Malihai Idodi na Pawaga that translates into Sustainable Use of Wildlife Resources in Idodi and Pawaga (Walsh, 1995). Idodi and Pawaga are Administrative Divisions in the District. Donors praised the project and alleged that even the local communities liked it, only that the local authorities plunder the supposed benefits (Walsh, 1998).

The “experts” praise the project as having resulted into more than TShs.20 million raised from the sale of combined game quota for year 2000. This income was divided equally between 18 villages in the project area, but the resident hunters were extremely angered by their exclusion from their favourite hunting grounds in Lunda-Mkwambi. The District Council at various times has made it clear that MBOMIPA is a national project and the financial management of the project is the responsibility of DfID [added emphasis] (Walsh, 1998; 2000).

In 1998, the Usangu Game Reserve was gazetted “to protect the Usangu wetland from the depredation of livestock-keepers and others, and to add a buffer zone to Ruaha National Park.” This worried the pro-MBOMIPA activists on the ground that the reserve might reduce their space in the African sun (Walsh, 2000:12). But MBOMIPA villagers said that the project had been turned into a “private property” (The Guardian September 25, 2001). Conservationists do not see this, apparently.

The obvious bias of policy makers serve the case study as to how they do not really mean what they say. To an astonishing degree, a single project can be quoted and re-quoted at conferences and in papers without any thorough analysis (Chambers, 1997). Is it not fantastic for the rather poor local communities to earn TShs.20 million in just one year? Not so fantastic when one considers the fact that the said amount was “thrown” to 18 villages with, doubtless, hundreds of thousands of villagers. If an average of 1000 people inhabit a village, a villager literally earned TShs.1,111 (about US $ 1) in 2000, enough for a one-person-lunch in an average hotel in Iringa town! In short, MBOMIPA is virtually a total failure. The following quote is revealing in this regard: 

When the opportunity cost of investment funds is considered, the project seems very likely to impoverish [emphasis added] Tanzanians though it has brought some limited benefits to a small number of poor people (DfID, 2000 cited in Walsh, 2000:15). 

Strangely, how much local communities earned is waved. How much did foreign “hunting” and tour companies operating within the project area earned and take home in that same period? How much must have been pocketed by trespassers from United Kingdom who are pushing the MBOMIPA? 

There is no doubt that hunters from the North gravely need wildlife to kill. The hunting business tends to be profitable compared with other related wildlife enterprises and is the largest foreign exchange [currency is the correct term] earner in the wildlife sector. During the 1996/1997 tourist-hunting season, for example, a total of 937 hunters came to Tanzania generating approximately US $ 8.15 million. In comparison to photographic tourism, 326,194 tourists came to Tanzania in 1995/1996 season and generated US $ 322 million (Sikoyo, 2001 & Hanlon & Sikoyo, 2001:3).

Unfortunately, to “hunters”, hunting is strictly prohibited in the national parks and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. And hunting in Game Reserves is very expensive due to the wide range of fees paid by the outfitters (Sikoyo, 2001:25). And photo tourism is claimed to be expensive in national parks and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Community Based Conservation is virtually aimed at expanding photographic and hunting areas to reduce the cost at the expense of local communities. At the same time, contributes to the main “strategies of conservation” (Hanlon & Sikoyo, 2001:18)    

Another laughable side of Community Based Conservation is that it is wrongly believed that wildlife accrued benefits could be better managed and looked after if other than public body is involved. That is not to be. For anybody or group in the so-called local authorities is a fallible. They behave exactly not unlike those in the central Government. The point need not be belaboured:


It is noted that poor [emphasis added] attempts have been made to allow participation of the people in the collection and utilization of revenue derived from the Game dispersal areas. The idea makes sense. There is a difficulty though. The Government has abdicated its duties. The responsibility of management of the collection of revenue both on behalf of the local residents and the Local Authorities was entrusted to what in Kenya is called the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO). This non-government body misbehaved and ruined the new spirit of wildlife management both in the Reserve and in the dispersal areas…There are looming litigations against KATO for the misappropriated and stolen revenue  (Keiwua, 2002).

Environmental and conservation fanatics have failed to grasp the main issues as a result of over-attention to unnecessary and/or irrelevant details. Assuming that the objectives of rural development are genuine, that is, they are geared towards improving the welfare of the rural people and not “the people and the nation” as always blanketed by these policies, marginalisation is out of agenda. In a nutshell, the conservation burden cannot be wished away with a magic wand or even “concerted” campaigns, not even by boxloads of “technical papers.” Conservation in Africa cannot be written out and followed like a road map (Adam & McShane, 1996:263). 

Lay people can be forgiven for accepting this myth for the first task of many rural people is to find out what threats or opportunities development theorists may be bringing. It is then a question of saying and showing whatever will minimise penalties and maximise gains (Chambers, 1997). But it is upsetting to hear analysts of Jonathan Adams and Thomas McShane calibre stooping in favour of the so-called Community Based Conservation.  The co-authors threw up their hands in despair:

The integration of conservation, science, and development has begun in earnest across Africa, from Zimbabwe in the south to Gabon in the west to Tanzania in the east. As with any pathbreaking efforts, these projects have proceeded in fits and starts. Failure may outnumber successes for some time to come, but there is simply no other choice (Adam & McShane, 1996: xix).   

Indeed! Absence of alternative cannot justify evil. Deception is worse than silence. Most certainly, neither Jonathan nor Thomas can drink a deadlier poison as an option for water when he is gravely thirsting and there is just no water. Above all, who are they to rule out “there is simply no other choice”? The well off can afford to be short sighted; the poor cannot. For example: 

To get them through the hungry season, a household in Mali cut consumption to one meal a day in order to avoid having to sell a traction animal (Davies, 1996:253). A woman in Sudan leaving her village in famine, preserved millet seed for planting on her hoped-for return by mixing it with sand to prevent her hungry children eating it (Chambers, 1997). A Maasai family drink more blood when there is no milk to prevent constant slaughter of livestock.  


Contrary to popular belief, it is less poor and weak and more the rich and powerful who take the short-term view. Economists discount future benefit: the further off benefits are, the less they are worth now. Contractors grab fast by clear-felling forest and getting timber quickly. Politicians constantly court popularity and set their sight no further than the next election. Professionals and outsiders underperceive local process. The learning of scientists tends to be stepwise, that of local people incremental. Local people are continuously observing and experiencing (Chambers, 1997). Western development theorists must leave Africans alone. As long as the intervention continues, there will never be any meaningful development in Africa (Fanon, 1972 & Rodney, 1976)!   

The community conservation myth is an alien thing. It is an ideological smoke-screen that perpetuates the realities of conservation failures. It is an attempt to avoid responsibility of past mistakes. The first task must be to transform the apologetic state the communities are wrapped in by addressing their misgivings. Not peddling the new rhetoric (Fred Majaliwa pers.comm. 02.02.00). But almost everybody in the development profession, wildlife in particular prefers to mime and parrot the conservationists’ ideology without a critical look at what s/he embraces so well.

Should one be sincere, an ordinary pastoralist cannot choose wildlife instead of livestock as the colourful conservation fallacies might lead one to believe; an ordinary peasant values his crops. The praised villages in Tanzania like Minjingu, Ololosokwan and 18 villages in MBOMIPA “accepted” the myth due to the fact that the villagers were either flattered or intimidated or both to accept it. What is the justification of a state of affairs where villagers gravely want land as a response to human population increase yet the same people set aside part of their village land for wildlife conservation that they do not benefit? This is one of the seven wonders of the modern world!

7         Lessons from other African Countries

The Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) in Zimbabwe is the only more publicised experience. A great many records have been written about it. Twenty-five of the literature cited in this paper praised the programme. CAMPFIRE dates back to 1975, when Africa’s most heinous dictators-Ian Smith and his gang-formulated the Parks and Wildlife Act (UNEP & KWFT, 1998). It is being implemented in the African areas (then called Native Reserves and later Communal Areas), to disarm Africans of even their barren land.

One even need to know in detail what CAMPFIRE means in Zimbabwe where 95% of all wealth is controlled by about 100,000 whites leaving almost nothing to 12 million Africans (Maredza, 2000). And the tourism sector in Zimbabwe is not for black Zimbabweans. Professor Katama Mkangi, a Kenyan who teaches Sociology and Community Service at the United States International University in Nairobi, visited Zimbabwe in September 2001. He reported the following: 

I expected the Air Zimbabwe flight to be half full [following the campaigns in the world media that President Robert Mugabe is rushing the whites]. To our surprise, the plane was full of white tourists with a sprinkle of “coloured” tourists like us sticking out like a sore thumb in a barren desert of white. And at the famous Victoria Falls Hotel where we spent five days, we [Mkangi, his wife and two children] were the only [emphasis added] African tourists. Definitely I felt more of being a foreigner despite the valiant efforts by African staff to make us “feel at home” (Mkangi, 2001).  


In his graveside eulogy, Zimbabwe: Life After the Election, Baffour Ankomah the editor of New African, recorded the land tension in Zimbabwe. In the most analytical and impartial style he wrote:

“It is generally said that 4,500 white commercial farmers own 70% of the best land in the country. But you have to see it with your own eyes to fully understand what that 70% translates into. The whites virtually own the country. The blacks, dispossessed of their land by the Rhodesians in colonial times, are just mere tenants in their “own” country. They don’t own the land, the descendants of the mainly British settlers who arrived in 1890 and pillaged their way across the country, own it. They don’t own the economy either… If you don’t own the land and don’t own the economy, you are a tenant [emphasis added] renting space in your own country and living at the sufferance of those who own it” (Ankomah, 2002). 

This is a shock therapy for any intellectual who naively regards CAMPFIRE as a success story.

The bragged about Community Based Wildlife Management “success” in Botswana, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia sparks more questions than it answers.

For the sake of this paper, Kenya is spotlighted in some details. The reasons for this move are mainly: (i) until recently Kenya was leading in attracting the bulk of the Sub-Saharan Africa tourist trade (see Table 4 below), (ii) Kenya “is the most reliable guardian of wildlife in Africa” (Adam & McShane, 1992:70), (iii) it is, among the leading countries facing land conflict in Africa and (iv) other Africans are not economically better than Kenyans and in fact in some cases they are worse.

                     Table 4: Market Share of Visits to Wildlife protected Areas in Sub-Saharan Africa

                                                             Share percentage of Market

           Destination               US                      Europe                    Japan 

           Tanzania                      7                          2                               3

           Zimbabwe                    8                          3                               -

           Kenya                         34                        26                             37

           Other                          49                         69                            60

           All                             100[24]                    100                          100            

                      Source: (MNRT, 1996:6) 

Prior to the coming of Europeans to Kenya, Maasai land rights, were bundled together and vested in the community, to hold in trust for use of the Maasai people. The community knew the extent of its land. Any encroachment by outsiders was repulsed by force of arms. Protection by the community of its land, worked so long a power not mightier than that of the Maasai was not in the picture.

When the British and German Governments drew a straight line across the map of East Africa at the end of the 19th Century, thus creating the German and British colonies of Tanganyika and Kenya, they also cut across the land of the Maasai. This territory was 500 miles long and 110 miles wide. 

The larger portion of it lay in Kenya and the present larger city of Nairobi, which is the capital, still bears a Maasai name. Nairobi means “cold” in Maa. “Because the highland around Nairobi has a climate eminently suitable for Europeans this territory was the first that the Maasai had to leave. In 1911 they were even persuaded to give up the whole remaining northern portion of their land, which was then also occupied by Europeans. Thus they had to abandon the best parts of their country, where there was plentiful grazing and water even in the dry season” (Grzimek, 1960: 181). 

The British who came, saw and coveted the land disrupted communal land ownership. A hasty study of the Maasai was undertaken with equally hasty conclusions made. The rights of the Maasai to own their land had been watered down to mere grazing rights. “Sir Charles Eliot cannot in fairness call the Maasai wanderers. Between the Maasai on their land, and the British who had wandered all the way form little England, who was a wanderer? It was no honour for the British to go out as bullies to scavenge for other people’s lands” (Keiwua, 2002).

A Kenyan Maasai was bitter about the British treatment of his people. He put it succinctly thus:

They tricked us! The British tricked us! After we had been weakened by civil wars and droughts, they claimed that our Great Laibon, O’lonana, had signed an agreement in 1904 with His Majesty’s Commission for the East African Protectorate, leasing Kenya to the British. The Maasai would never have accepted such a lease! This would have confined us to an arid, dusty land of thousands of miles where the threat of drought is always imminent, and the pastureland is barren and absolutely worthless (Saibull & Carr, 1981).

The Kenya Land Commission Report 1933, made it impossible for any future claim by the Maasai to the lands in the Rift Valley, to be entertained both by the British and the incoming African Government. That was their fate at the Lancaster House conference in London. It was the last straw. Other land losses came via gazetted Game Reserves (Keiwua, 2002).

The colonial Government signed the death warrant for the Yaaku community at the turn of the last century. While white settlers and visiting sport hunters were allowed to hunt game, the Government outlawed this for Africans. Ninety-year-old Leboi Lentula, one of the last five known of the Yaaku community said:


People would be arrested, shot or whipped for killing wildlife. Our people knew no other way of life. Our lifestyle was turned upside-down. The ban on hunting struck a deathblow to the survival of the Yaaku People (The East African September 16-22, 2002).    

Unlike Zimbabwean land impasse, the “world” media: CNN, BBC, DW, etc. do not trumpet tension over land in Kenya. This bias is basically due to the fact that Britons (the British military show-off) and politicians are enjoying land appropriation in Kenya. The following excerpt is evidence:


Legend has it that the 5,000 or so Ogiek who live in 35,000 hectors of East Mau Forest in Western Kenya are fashioned from the soil of the forest, which God scooped up from the Mau escarpment at the time of creation. But if the Kenyan Government gets its way, the Ogiek will soon be scooped out of the forest by the Government plan to turn over 170,000 acres of public land, including prime forests, to private use. In October, the Government issued a legal notice of intention to excise the said area. The Ogiek have responded by writing a notice to the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Katana Ngala, asking him to reverse the decision. Ogiek have another case in court, filed in March, seeking a reversal of the same decision. In both cases, they argue that the forest excision is in contempt of a 1997 high court ruling that said outsiders were not to interfere with Ogiek land. “The forest is the source of livelihood of the Ogiek,” said Odenda Lumumba, the Co-ordinator of Kenya Land Alliance (New African December 2001). 

Kenya is a country in which Britain tests its new military hardware. Unfortunately this is done in Districts like Narok and Kajiado where it is claimed that local communities have managed to benefit from wildlife. Maasai and Samburu community leaders are demanding to see the contents of the military pact that allows Britain to freely use the two communities’ rangeland. 

Another much taunted view in Kenya is that the country has had the widely recognised land reform in East and Southern Africa. Also the R.J.M. Swynnerton 1954 report on “How to intensify the development of African agriculture in Kenya” was aimed at the privatisation of land ownership through the displacement of Indigenous Land Tenure system and replaces it with a system that entrenched private property rights along the lines of the English Land Law (Lumumba, 2001:4). 

In the Memorandum to the Njonjo Commission on Land Law from the Communities of Ololulunga and Melelo Locations of Narok District, the communities wrangled that the Constitution of Kenya contains elaborate safeguards against violation of the right to private property. It matters not whether such private property is group owned land under the Land (Group Representatives) Act (Cap 287). Yet a Councillor from Mulot side, who in a public baraza called by the Provincial Commissioner, Rift Valley in 1999 to reconcile the Maasai and the Kipsigis, dared to say that the Kipsigis would continue to invade Maasai owned land until such time the Maasai had given birth to enough children to fill up their land (Mwenesi, undated).

In the Memorandum of Grievances, to the Commission of Inquiry into Land Laws of Kenya, from the communities of Iloodoariak and Moriso Land Adjudication Sections of Kajiado District the communities, had the following to say: 

We the distressed and deprived communities of Loodoariak and Moriso were encouraged by the words of the Commission’s chairman who pledged to Kenya Public that all titles acquired otherwise than in strict accordance with the legal procedures will be cancelled.  We believe you Mr. Chairman. We also believe that in this pledge your Commission has set out to put right what had been put wrong by the failure on the part of those who were supposed to impartially and disinterestedly administer the law. It was the waywardness in the non-application or observance of the clear and unambiguous provisions of the Land Adjudication Act (Cap.284) that is responsible for our being deprived of our ancestral lands in these two Land Adjudication Sections. The provisions had been misused and abused by a no less a person than the then Minister for Lands and Settlement, whose wife, despite not being an ordinary resident of any of these sections, was enabled by equally unscrupulous Government officials to acquire two farms, one in each of these Land Adjudication Sections. To our mind, that was the clearest case of abuse of office. We are at a loss why this-well known-then-Minister has not been made to face the full force of the law (Mwenesi, undated). 

In Kenya, the most fruitful areas of the Maasai country have already been converted into wheat farms run as co-operatives (Watschinger, undated: 194 & Parkipuny, 1991:10ff).

If land grabbing in Kenya is so widespread, what is the justification of Community Based Wildlife Management “success” in that country? What are the social, economic, and political implications of the wildlife extension projects to ordinary Kenyans at least in Kajiado and Narok Districts?

The Maasai are victims of the ravages of wildlife. The British foresaw, that in the event of the Maasai showing a disposition towards improved pastoral or agricultural methods, those obstacles the existence of Game Reserve present should not be allowed to stand in the Maasai way. Decades have gone by. Yet no step has been taken to ameliorate these ravages. The burden of having to look after and share resources with the wildlife is still on the Maasai shoulder like ever before. In Maasailand, it must be emphasised, land grabbing is among the main threats facing communities.

It is suggested, for those willing to avert disaster, the Kenya Government included, that immediate steps be taken to put to an end the forced take over of group land by members of the Kipsigis community in Transmara and Cismara areas. As to lands lost in the adjudication stage, the Government is advised to return this to its owners. Group land should not be subdivided senselessly. The Government, should at once, re-look into the whole matter (Keiwua, 2002).

Kenyans are threatened by acute poverty. But the Government had the audacity to destroy wealth. “…Richard Leakey, a genius at wining converts to his point of view, also fought on the side of ivory ban. At Leakey’s urging, Kenyan President [Daniel Arap] Moi put the torch to a 12-ton pile of confiscated tusks worth an estimated $3 million. It was a public relation coup of immense proportions, but many people, in Kenya and elsewhere, felt Moi would have been better off selling the ivory and using the money to upgrade the management of the parks” (Adams & McShane, 1992).  

One could go on and on citing incident and after incident scandalous problems facing Kenyans in relation to wildlife. But that is not necessary. Suffice it to say that in sharp contrast to Tanzania, the only thing worth of praise in Kenya wildlife human relationship is her legal provision, which stipulates compensation for wildlife damages. The Wildlife Act of 1979 Section 62 (1) states: 

…where after the appointed day any person suffers any bodily injury from or is killed by, any animal or suffers any damage to loss of crops or property or, in the case of a deceased person, any other person who was dependent upon him at the date of his death, may make application to a District Committee established by this section, for the award of compensation for such injury or death or damage or loss (GOK, 1977 cited in Parkipuny, 1991:15).

Even if this section is clearly not ambiguous, it has all along been either like a toothless dog or grossly abused or both. Justice ole Keiwua’s comment on this is revealing:

…the  Government owns all the wildlife in the country. Any killing without good excuse is punished severely. Compensation is limited for death and personal injury, presently meanly assessed. Compensation for loss of crops was abolished. This was due to the abuse of the provision by Government officials big or small. Each of these came to "own" a wheat farm in the game dispersal areas. These were used to siphon off the compensation money, before any of it, reaches the real and genuine losers (Keiwua, 2002).

Sight should not be lost of the fact that there is the remaining task, to make the quoted section work. Parroting that Community Conservation in Kenya is successful does not help much.

The myth of “Community Conservation” can never really help local communities develop independently; if anything, its aim is the exact opposite. Why is it that countries like Tanzania with immense wildlife resources are the ones faced with abject poverty? The United State of America has set aside less than 4% of her land for conservation (Adams & McShane, 1992: 103).

Disturbingly, rich countries use the vast majority of Earth’s available resources. They, with 25% of the world human population, use up to 75% of energy, 80% of all commercial fuels, and 85% of the timber. In one year, a single American uses the same amount of energy as 300 Africans. Coupled with greater life expectancy in the USA, this means that each child born in USA will be as great a burden on the environment-as represented by energy use-as 500 Africans. It is thus very unfair to demand further sacrifices from Africans, given these figures (ibid: 232).

8         Plan of Action: Truth is the First Casualty 

There is a need to find out the truth by asking specific questions to various conservation and environmental lobbyists about these allegations. Regardless of who asks the questions, there is no reason that they should not willingly answer the question, as it is these same groups, which are clamouring for transparency. The charges made are of grave concern, and the implications for the future of the country are dramatic. Local communities deserve the answers to these questions. 

Ensuing silence instead of a response will reveal that truth. The answers to these questions will surely win the day if searched immediately. The guilty perpetrators are going to try and come up with some excuse to talk their way out of what they have done. That is just what they must not be allowed to do. If they then come out with some nonsensical propositions, few will believe them.

There is no reason why an inquiring and disinterested media cannot also ask the same questions in searching for truth and transparency, especially when the answers to the questions might have such an impact on the majority of Tanzanians and all Africans. Meanwhile, others can go to various platforms and different politicians in the effort to obtain answers to the action plan questions. Intellectuals should take this issue seriously with great resolve. Below are the kind of questions would need answers which are satisfactory.

Why did the Government “trust” Professor McAuslan, a Briton, to draft the new Land Act 1999 while the British colonial state is the root cause of the land tenure crisis in Tanzania? Why not hand over the existing protected areas like national parks to “local communities”? Why did the Orttelo Business Corporation build permanent structures like an airstrip and others in Loliondo?

From Tanganyika, England had stolen among other things, the largest ever-recorded ivory. Senoussi, an African slave of the ivory trader Shundi, an Arab from Zanzibar, shot the largest elephant ever recorded with tusks 3.17m and 3.10m long in 1898 at Mount Kilimanjaro. The tusks are in the British Museum in London (Kakakuona April-June 2000). There is almost a similar story that states that the longest ever recorded tusks are a pair from Congo preserved in the National Collection of Heads and Horns, kept by the New York Zoological Society in New York (McWhirter, 1980). When will these valuables and others be returned to their original owners?

Africa lost over 65,000 elephants since the enactment of the ivory ban. Do these figures show that the loss of 65,525 elephants over the last six years [from 1989 to 1995] is much less than were being lost during the days of the ivory trade so that it can be concluded that the ban is successful? (Adams & McShane, 1996:255). What is the success in this regard? Between 1988 and 1992, 154 elephant were licensed to be shot in Tanzania. Who shot them, why and how much he earned?

The construction of an electric game fence around the residential and agricultural areas initiated significant changes in Zimbabwe (Nabane, 1996:47). In 1931, only twelve elephants-two young males and ten females-remained in the area that latter became Addo Elephant National Park, some 450 miles East of Cape Town in South Africa. In 1954, the park authorities constructed a fence of railway ties and cables around 5,400 acres of the park. As human population pressure increased in the region, the elephants thrived within the fenced park; in 1964 there were 35 elephants, in 1976 the number reached 77, and by 1991, 173 elephants lived in Addo (Adams & McShane, 1992:83).

In Galapo and Minjingu villages, villagers opined that Tarangire National Park be fenced on the ground that that is a lesser of two evils[25]. Who could explain what is wrong in fencing wildlife-protected areas in a country like Tanzania whose human population is increasing? What is so special to Tanzania that it is wrong to have “ecological islands surrounded by seas of human settlements”? What is the rationale of condemning locals that they are blocking wildlife migratory corridors while it is development paradigms that pushed these communities into those areas?

The Kenyan Government is liable for wildlife damage. Why should the Tanzanian Government refuse to be liable while communities are liable if found with trophies?

In 1966, the parks in United States of America attracted 112 million tourists (Fosbrooke, 1972). When will Tanzania do the same? If it does can it be claimed that it will mark the end of poverty? 

These questions and many others posed in this paper are but a fraction of the total. They have to be answered by both the Government and the “international conservation community”. Any attempt to avoid answering these questions is additional evidence of a ploy that conceals sinister objectives. Truth must be put forward first. The truth will see the light of day and local communities will win.

9         Options and Alternatives 

Tanzania is one of those countries whose laws and policies are blatantly upside down. For instance the Government has pledged to protect the right to live and the right to property. The policy of the same Government states that the Government does not intend to introduce compensation schemes for wildlife damage (MNRT, 1998). Any Government that is unwilling to defend its citizens has already lost the moral authority to rule. That is the whole point of having a Government. 

The Presidents of Tanzania and/or their Governments have been abusing office. For example the Government of President Ali Hassan Mwinyi is responsible for Loliondo Gate scandal. But it is next to impossible to sue the President. The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania stipulates:

Wakati wote Rais atakapokuwa bado ameshika madaraka yake kwa mujibu wa Katiba hii, itakuwa ni marufuku kumshitaki au kuendesha mashtaka ya aina yoyote juu yake mahakamani kwa ajili ya kosa lolote la jinai. …haitaruhusiwa kufungua mahakamani shauri kuhusu jambo lolote alilolitenda au alilokosa kulitenda yeye binafsi kama raia wa kawaida ama kabla au baada ya kushika madaraka ya Rais…(JMT, 1995:43).

A constitution like this has no right of existence at all. It should take the back seat, paving the way to deal with criminals irrespective of whom they are. George Owell’s adage of his Animal Farm that some animals are more equal than others must be put at bay. Mwalimu Nyerere[26] illustrated:


Mistakes are mistakes and evil is evil even when committed by big people or by a majority. A party, which stands for Truth and Justice, has the obligation [emphasis added] to give its members the freedom and opportunity of correcting mistakes and removing evil (Nyerere, 1977:57). 


It is suggested that while awaiting a streamlined position regarding the actions to be taken against Government officials, big and small, who abused village lands in general all proposed (and those in place) transactions should be shelved for the next ten years.
Villages must resist boldly the capture of their birthright land (Fanon, 1973). It must be born in mind that people sometimes reach a point where they cannot stand oppression anymore. 

Communities understand that it is possible for things to be better so they set about looking for alternative ways to make things better. There is a point beyond which people cannot bear pain any longer and death becomes preferable. Any Government, however dictatorial, will avoid pushing citizens to this point if it has wisdom. Precisely, it was this lack of wisdom that wrecked havoc in apartheid South Africa. Unarmed Black South Africans defied the Boer’s unruly soldiers without caring for the consequences. Former South African President Nelson Mandela testifies:


I followed Gandhi’s strategy for as long as I could, but then there came a point in our struggle when the brute force of the oppressor could no longer be countered through passive resistance alone. We founded the Umkhonto we Sizwe and added a military dimension to our struggle. Force is the only language the oppressor can hear [emphasis added] (Mandela, 1994).  

Currently, donors principally guide the guiding compass of the Government decision on social, economic as well as political matters. The colonial state inherited is designed to suppress people. It must be destroyed and replaced by a people-oriented [added emphasis] state (Babu, 1981). Let it not be thought that people will not fight for their rights. In the words of Nyerere “men will never willingly accept deliberate and organised humiliation as the price of existence” (Nyerere, 1978:11).  

10    Conclusion  

The last century has witnessed a growing awareness of the disastrous consequences of a reckless imperialistic approach to development. It is apparent that Tanzania is passing through the most serious crisis ever experienced since independence. The primary cause of the crisis is the Government’s bad policies, which over the past many years have aggravated poverty and social disintegration. Thus, the habituated saying that Tanzania is a “peaceful country” is in fact baseless.

Land issues are not fairly addressed. The land issue in Tanzania and elsewhere on the continent has to be solved in favour of the indigenous people. To keep ignoring this fact is wisdom reserved only for the ostrich-minded [emphasis added] apologists. Such people-especially the Africans among them-either lack a sense of history, or have been too schooled in the Western value system to the extent that they are blind to the structures put in place to deny Africans humanity (Mkangi, 2001).

The Presidential Commission had succinctly illustrated that the multifarious land problems that it unearthed during its two years countrywide inquiry could be traced to the lack of land policy. The Government kept at bay from the Commission’s recommendations (Kapinga, 1997). As discussed earlier, the new Land Act 1999 did not address issues affecting ordinary Tanzanians. This is rejection of people’s recommendations. To reject the truth does more harm than one could imagine:

Truth’ has one very good characteristic about it. For the big and small, for the friends and enemies ‘Truth’ is the same for all. And one characteristic of ‘Truth’ is that if you ignore it you will always “pay for it.” If for example, you see me trying to kick a stone because I think it is a ball, I believe you will warn me. But if I ignore your warning merely because you are a small person and proceed to kick it, then I will break my toe, irrespective of whom I am. ‘Truth’ does not want to be ignored or taken lightly (Nyerere, 1977:56).

Another very tragic issue is the stubborn refusal by both the Government and conservationists to accept new realities. Their refusal to look reality in the face, in their efforts to cover up their limited class vision by inventing fantastic and unworkable social doctrines, in their damaging preoccupation with irrelevant issues which have nothing to do with the real needs of the people, in their futile but persistent efforts to reverse the match of history, the conservationists are plunging local people into the deep blue sea of economic and social despair. This is a horrible prospect, considering the cruel past from which indigenous people are yet to emerge. Plus the bitter present.

Conservation strategies were conceived on the basis of premises completely alien and unrelated to indigenous peoples concrete historical conditions. At first the conservationists promoted conservation for tourists with the lure of earning profit for the poor masses. When that myth was shattered and awareness of the social costs of tourism and failure of national parks to protect certain valued wildlife species they came up with another claim: that increases in livestock not wild animals will usher the Sahara to the Equator (Parkipuny, 1991).

The book co-authored by Leach and Mearns is but one example. They lied lavishly by claiming that the last tree would disappear in Tanzania in 1990 (ibid. 1988 cited in Chambers, 1997). Accordingly, this background conservation was modelled on patterns prescribed by the above motley of Western “experts”.

To be workable development must be in harmony with the concrete situation to which it is designed to apply (Babu, 1981). It is a principle that an appraisal of a situation must have its foundation on facts and be guided by practice. A correct appraisal of a given situation can only be made if all facts surrounding it have been thoroughly grasped. The myth of “Community Based Wildlife Conservation” ignores the fact that: what was right in one historical epoch (conservationists and politicians please note!) may be wrong in a different one (ibid: 54).

If peace is to prevail the Government must listen to the views of the people. This is not necessarily the so-called majority view: even the views of an individual can save a situation, a people and a nation. As such they must be given due respect. The realities of life and conditions are elusive. People should find their own solutions (Chambers, 1997). If people were allowed to exercise these rights, Tanzania would not be faced with half the problems that are facing it today (Scope, 1977). It is time to consider how people are organised outside the Government. Resnick Mitchell said it all:  

Simulations of flocks of birds, termites foraging, and traffic jams are examples of self-organisation, without leaders and without leaders and central control (Resnick, 1994 cited in Chambers, 1997).

Conservation cannot be done “to” or even “for” or “with” Africans (Adams& McShane, 1992:245). Africans have been shouldering the wildlife burden for centuries, despite popular misinformation to the contrary. For example, African Governments spent an estimated US $ 115 million every year on managing wildlife protected areas, a figure that far outstrips the support provided by international conservation organisations. World Wide Fund for Nature, the largest non-governmental conservation organisation in the world, spends no more than US $ 15 million on the continent (ibid: 230).

Above all, the international conservation lobby groups hardly know a thing about what goes on in Africa. For example, “During the CITES conference, held in Lausanne, Switzerland, the conservation groups, who were observers, met every afternoon following the regular session. At one of these meetings (which often grew heated) a poll was taken: how many of those in attendance, excluding people representing groups based in Africa, had ever been on the continent? One hand went up”(Adams & McShane, 1992:65). Disturbingly, groups like Friends of Animals, Greenpeace, and others can, with the power of the purse, exert tremendous influence. 

The group of sell-outs is part of the definition of the endless problems facing the human population in Africa (Rodney, 1976). With the current romance between donors and the Government, the local communities can never realise wildlife benefits. To seek the way out of neo-colonialism through economic gimmicks is tantamount to seeking the way out of economic subjugation through even more subjugation (Babu, 1981).

In a nutshell, communities themselves must conserve their wildlife and environment. This should be done on the understanding that the guilty perpetrators will never negotiate themselves out of the system that benefited them (Mandela, 1994). Yes, judging from the advantages conservationists have, it would cost an arm and a leg to replicate that lifestyle.

To professionals, politicians and donors, the people are nothing; just-faceless tatterdemalion crowds who are there to be manipulated and forced to do whatever the former want (Babu, 1981:171). Leadership are increasingly isolated from the people and from the reality, and live in a world of their own delusion, which forces them into actions, which are irrational and often fatally damaging.

Tanzania is pathetically poor. Its per capita income is US $ 246 (US $ 1 = Tshs.1000). It is said that there is no adherence to a principle, no matter how immaculate it may be, unless one is well fed. Poverty can foment fundamentalism. The surest way of wildlife conservation in Africa cannot be attained unless poverty is tackled head-on.

Complex situations always contain several contradictions, and it is essential to single out the principle one, which, as a rule, influences the development of other contradictions. It is therefore necessary to identify the following contradictions: (a) between the Government and the Western donors (b) between the leaders and the led (c) between the wildlife sector and other sectors (d) between urban and rural development. In each case, the contradiction has a principle aspect, which determines the development of the other, and with that, several other secondary contradictions.

It is essential to identify which should be resolved first. The break with imperialism (globalisation if you like) is a necessary condition for the development of other precondition, which is economic.

Surely, “no matter how harder the poor of the world work, they will not develop until and unless the present world economic order is abandoned” (Nyerere, 1978:50). Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned; until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race (Marley, 1976).

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[1] Myth is used here and elsewhere in this study to mean misguided belief.


[2] It is irrefutable that some wild species in Africa are on the brink of extinction. But loud cries about loss of wildlife in Africa are aimed at an audience outside the continent, mainly funding organisations (Adams & McShane, 1992).

[3] I am very grateful to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism official (name with held) for providing me with this map. CA = Conservation Area, NP= National Park and GR = Game Reserve.

[4] These figures cannot give more than an indication. They are highly disputed.


[5] The poverty discourse is deeply rooted in the hypocrisy of the capitalism system that brought conveniently the “poor country” rhetoric in order to deny culpability. The rhetoric constitutes as well as distances the responsibility of the global actors that have contributed to poverty many African economies are facing.


[6] For a critical evaluation of the National Land Policy see Shivji (1997).


[7] For details on how much is retained by various conservation agencies in Tanzania see PWHC (1998).

[8] Scientists know a great deal about Serengeti, but hardly anything at all about the vast remaining areas, which may be uncomfortable but not less important. A place like Gabon, were tropical forest at sea level mean discomfort is ignored (0Adams & McShane, 1996).


[9] From 1991 to 1999, 7.0 days was the minimum average for tourists to stay in a hotel in one safari (JMT, 2000:146). Above all, the 105-bed lodge provided 20,724 bed nights accommodation in 1967 (Fosbrooke, 1972:213).


[10] The law provides for the usual incentives-tax holidays and exemptions, provision of land, easy accesses to natural resources, attractive labour legislation or the promise of it-to attract ferocious vultures called investors (Shivji, 2001). 

[11] Investigations by this author for instance reveals that there is no a single Television in Minjingu village. And in a village where there are less than 20 ordinary level secondary school levers, one cannot expect the villagers to be English speakers.

[12] These figures are truly unbelievable. They must have been under reported.

[13] The Hadza are few in number, only about 500, and their impact on the wildlife is no more than any other predator, well within the limit for the species concerned (Fosbrooke 1972:156). The Hadza and Idorobo are heading to extinction! 


[14] The colonial Government allowed the Maasai to live in Ngorongoro Conservation Area to avoid another rebellion after the experience of the Mau Mau uprising in neighbouring Kenya, which happened around the same time (Shivji & Kapinga, 1998:9).


[15] The pastoralists have been subjected to wandering that has always resulted into fighting with other societies like hunter-gatherers. The grave tension in Mang’ola between the Hadzabi and Barbaig ethnic groups is one example. Partly, the cause is that the Government in collaboration with Canada International Development Agency has forcefully grabbed 100,000 acres of the Barbaig land in Hanang District and turned it into a Wheat Project (Lane, 1996). 


[16] Interestingly, with exception of only the Karatu constituency, the entire Arusha Region with over 10 constituencies was the political party in power, (Chama Cha Mapinduzi), votes pool in 2000 general election.


[17] The Maasai were in good terms with their neighbours as one of the poverty-driven European testifies: “The Maasai settlement was on the river Mkomazi, rising in the Usambara hills and running into the Ruvu. These Maasai do not cultivate, but they breed cattle, sheep and goats, which they sell to passing caravans, and also exchange with the Wakindi for grain. They live at peace with their neighbours and seem a quiet and inoffensive people” (Farler, 1882).  

[18] Village authorities are often ignorant and least informed of development paradigms even within their administrative localities. While their subjects fear them they equally fear the authorities above them. Thus the view by Professor Issa Shivji that the policy making and legislative power should be vested in the Village Assembly is absurd. This is an alien system which is not understood and is feared. It sounds an outrageous thing to say, but it is nevertheless basically true.     


[19] The executive arm of the state has constitutional powers to revoke the Right of Occupancy including the title deed to land.  Thus practically villagers have no land in spite of having the title deed.


[20] I know this sentence should have been deleted but my better judgement has not prevailed.


[21] Any rational legal state can never dare to opt for such a trash in the name of policy. The needs and aspirations of local communities are an integral concern of any policy worth the name.

[22] The Maasai are now-days being focused, albeit the continuing condemnation against them for environmental destruction, as “natural conservationists.” Maasai lifestyle cannot represent all Africans. “To pick one aspect of African life and generalise it to represent the entire race is not only unscientific but it is to succumb to racism” (Babu, 1981).


[23] Wildlife population census is money magnet. Figures are manipulated to say what the public wants to hear i.e. species are disappearing in Africa (see Grzimek, 1961:20). It is impossible to say with any certainty not only how many elephants exist, but also whether they are increasing or decreasing (Adams & McShane, 1996). 


[24] The report says nothing about the missing 2.0 percent.

[25] This is an idea guaranteed to send a shudder through conservation organisations in the world. However, this is at least what the villagers would wish to see happening. Those clamouring that it is time to listen the rural people should listen. 


[26] Though critical of Nyerere elsewhere, I acknowledge his contribution to the liberation struggles is Southern Africa.