The Guardian reports: Tanzania has been accused of reneging on its promise to 40,000 Masai pastoralists by going ahead with plans to evict them and turn their ancestral land into a reserve for the royal family of Dubai to hunt big game.
Activists celebrated last year when the government said it had backed down over a proposed 1,500 sq km “wildlife corridor” bordering the Serengeti national park that would serve a commercial hunting and safari company based in the United Arab Emirates.
Now the deal appears to be back on and the Masai have been ordered to quit their traditional lands by the end of the year. Masai representatives will meet the prime minister, Mizengo Pinda, in Dodoma on Tuesday to express their anger. They insist the sale of the land would rob them of their heritage and directly or indirectly affect the livelihoods of 80,000 people. The area is crucial for grazing livestock on which the nomadic Masai depend.
Unlike last year, the government is offering compensation of 1 billion shillings (£369,350), not to be paid directly but to be channelled into socio-economic development projects. The Masai have dismissed the offer.
“I feel betrayed,” said Samwel Nangiria, co-ordinator of the local Ngonett civil society group. “One billion is very little and you cannot compare that with land. It’s inherited. Their mothers and grandmothers are buried in that land. There’s nothing you can compare with it.”
Nangiria said he believes the government never truly intended to abandon the scheme in the Loliondo district but was wary of global attention. “They had to pretend they were dropping the agenda to fool the international press.” [Continue reading…]
As Proudhon wrote, property is theft.
The land on which indigenous populations depend is invariably land upon which no conception of ownership has ever been imposed.
The people belong to the land.
Conquest and settlement invert this relationship, create property, and then assert exclusive rights over that property.
These assertions are inherently abusive because they mean that the land has been enslaved and now exists in the service of its owners.
In the case of the Maasai ancestral lands, the fact that these lands will be turned over to big-game hunters to indulge in regal rituals of slaughter — opportunities for sclerotic, impotent tycoons to pretend they are more virile than lions — fittingly illustrates the destructive nature of ownership.