Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC)

Name ID 1526

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Tomlinson, Chris Big game hunting threatening Africa
Extract Author: Chris Tomlinson
Extract Date: 2002 03 20

Big game hunting threatening Africa

Associated Press

Loliondo GAME CONTROL AREA, Tanzania - At a dirt airstrip in rural Tanzania, a desert camouflaged cargo plane from the United Arab Emirates air force taxis up to pallets stacked with large coolers full of game meat, the harvest of a successful Hunting season.

As Tanzanian immigration and customs officials fill out documents under a thatched shelter, brand-new, four-wheel-drive trucks and dune buggies drive to and from a nearby luxury campsite, the base for one of Tanzania's most expensive - and secretive - game Hunting operations, Otterlo Business Corp.

Hundreds of members of Arab royalty and high-flying businessmen spend weeks in the Loliondo Game Control Area each year Hunting antelope, lion, leopard and other wild animals. The area is leased under the Otterlo name by a member of an emirate royal family who is a senior officer in the UAE defense ministry.

While neighboring Kenya outlawed big game Hunting in 1978, the Tanzanian government says Hunting is the best use of the land and wildlife. But villagers and herders say big money has led government officials to break all the Hunting rules, resulting in the destruction of most of the area's non-migratory animals and putting East Africa's most famous national parks under threat.

Loliondo is on the main migratory route for wildlife north of Ngorongoro Crater, east of Serengeti National Park and south of Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve. The summer Hunting season coincides with the migration of wildebeest and zebra through the area, where they eventually cross into the Serengeti and the Masai Mara. Predatory animals follow the migration.

During the colonial era, Loliondo was set aside for European royalty as a Hunting area. Since independence, Loliondo has remained a Hunting reserve, but it is supposed to be managed by area residents for their benefit.

Local leaders, who refuse to speak publicly because they fear retribution, say they have not been consulted about the lease that was granted in 1995 by national officials in Tanzania's political capital, Dodoma. They say government officials have tried to silence criticism.

"The lease was given by the government and the Maasai landowners were not involved," said one Maasai leader. "All the resident animals have been killed ... (now) they carry out Hunting raids in the Serengeti National Park, but the government closes its eyes."

Maasai warriors told The Associated Press that hunters give cash to anyone who can lead them to big game, especially leopards. They also said that Otterlo officials have begun pumping water into some areas to attract more animals and that what the warriors call suspicious fires in the Serengeti have caused animals to move into Loliondo.

An Otterlo manager, who gave his name only as Khamis, initially agreed to an interview with AP but later did not return repeated phone calls.

In an interview with the newspaper, The East African, Otterlo managing director Juma Akida Zodikheri said his company adheres to Tanzanian law, and he denied hunters killed animals indiscriminately. He said the owner of the company is Maj. Gen. Mohammed Abdulrahim al Ali, deputy defense minister of the UAE.

While Tanzania has strict rules on game Hunting, Maasai who have worked at the lodge say guests are never told of the limits and hunt as much as they want. Tanzanian officials deny that.

Col. A.G.N. Msangi, district commissioner for Ngorongoro District, said all applicable rules are enforced. He accused the Maasai of rumor-mongering in an effort to discredit Otterlo.

The company "is following the system the government wants," Msangi said. "OBC has invested more money here than any other company in the district."

Msangi said Hunting companies request permission to kill a certain number of animals. Once the request is approved by wildlife experts at the Ministry of the Environment, the company pays a fee based on that number whether they actually kill the animals or not, he said.

"We have police and ministry people making sure they don't exceed what they have paid for," Msangi said. The tourists are also required to employ professional hunters to ensure no female or young animals are killed, he added.

Compared to the numbers in Serengeti National Park, very few large animals were seen during a three-hour drive through Loliondo. But without any independent survey of the animal population, it is impossible to know whether Msangi's conservation efforts are working.

Msangi described his main duty as balancing the needs of people, animals and conservation. He said not only does Hunting revenue finance wildlife conservation, but Otterlo, like most tourism companies, also makes charitable donations to help pay for schools and development projects and it provides badly need jobs.

Also appeared in http://www.washtimes.com/world/20020801-22110374.htm

1 Aug 2002

Extract ID: 3792

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Extract Author: Lifer
Extract Date: April 16 2002

Response and explanations regarding the Article in the East African News Paper titled "Game Carnage in Tanzania Alarms Kenya".

Posted - April 16 2002 : 20:53:22

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1.0 INTRODUCTION:

The East African Newspaper of 4-10 February 2002 carried an article titled "Game Carnage in Tanzania Alarms Kenya", written by John Mbaria with supplement information from Apolinari Tairo of Dar es Salaam. The article was on The Ortello Business Hunting Company, which started to hunt in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area in 1992.

The following are issues raised in the article:

a) Hunting activities carried out in Liliondo Game Controlled Area near the Tanzania / Kenyan border causes loses of 80% of the Kenyan wildlife.

b) Hunting is conducted in the migratory route in the south between Kenya and Serengeti National Park. The animals are hunted during the migratory period as they move to Kenya and on their way back to Tanzania in July to December.

c) Hunting is threatening the Kenyan tourism industry, which earns the country USD 256.0 annually.

d) The Hunting kills animals haphazardly, without proper guidance and monitoring of actual number of animals killed and exported outside the country.

e) Airplanes belonging to Ortello Business Corporation (OBC) carry unspecified type of live animals and birds from Loliondo on their way back to UAE. Further more, the air planes fly directly in and out of Loliondo without stopping at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

The following are responses to the issues raised:

2.0 Conservation of wildlife in Tanzania

Tanzania is among the top ten countries in the world rich in biodiversity. Tanzania is also leading in wildlife conservation in Africa. It has 12 National Parks, including the famous Serengeti National Park, 34 Game Reserves and 38 Game Controlled Areas. The wildlife –protected areas cover 28% of the land surface area of Tanzania. In recognition of the good conservation works, Tanzania was awarded a conservation medal in 1995 by the Safari Club International whose headquarters is in the United States of America.

Tanzania has a number of important endangered animal species in the world. Such animal species are: Black Rhino, Wild Dog, Chimpanzee, Elephant and Crocodile (Slender Snorted Crocodile).

In 1998, the Government of Tanzania adopted a Wildlife Policy, which gives direction on conservation and advocate sustainable use of wildlife resources for the benefit of the present and future generations.

3.0 Tourist Hunting

Regulated tourist Hunting or any other type of Hunting that observes conservation ethics does not negatively affect wild animal populations. This is because Hunting ethics is based on selective Hunting and not random shooting of animals. Hunting was banned in Tanzania from 1972 to 1978. The resultant effect was increased poaching and reduced government revenue from wildlife conservation. Low revenue caused low budgetary allocations to wildlife conservation activities and the lack of working gear and equipment. When the tourist Hunting resumed Elephant population increased from 44,000 (in 1989) to 45,000 (in 1994). Elephant is a keystone species in the Hunting industry and is a good indicator in showing population status of other animal species in their habitat.

In 1989 to 1993 the government revenue from the Hunting industry increased from USD 2,422,500.00 to USD 7,377,430.00. The government earned a total of USD 9.3 Million from tourist Hunting in the year 2002. Increased revenue and keystone species such as Elephant are the results of efficient implementation of good plans and policies in conservation and sustainable use of wildlife resources.

4.0 Response to the issues raised in the article

4.1 Hunting against the law by OBC

OBC is one of the 40 Hunting companies operating in Tanzania. The Company belongs to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Different from other Hunting companies, OBC does not conduct tourist Hunting business. The Kingdom of UAE has been the client Hunting in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area since 1992.

In conducting Hunting in Loliondo Game Controlled Area, the Company adhere to the law and regulations governing the tourist Hunting industry, namely:

4.1.1 Payment of concession fee amounting to USD 7,500.00 per Hunting block per year.

4.1.2 Requesting for a Hunting quota from the Director of Wildlife, before issuance of Hunting permit.

4.1.3 Payment of game fees as stipulated by the Government.

4.1.4 Hunting only those animals shown in the Hunting permit.

4.1.5 Contributing to the development of the Hunting block, local communities’ development projects and anti-poaching activities.

The following is what OBC has done so far:

· Contribution towards the development of the Ngorongoro District of USD 46,000.00

· Construction of Waso Primary and Secondary Schools, six bore holes and cattle dips and has purchased two buses to enhance/local transportation. Furthermore, OBC contributed TSh. 30.0M to six villages in the Hunting area, for providing secondary school education to 21 children.

· Purchased a generator and water pump worth TSh. 11.0M for provision of water to six villages. It has also constructed all weather roads and an airstrip within Loliondo area.

4.1.6. Different from the rest of the Hunting companies OBC Hunting period is very short. Normally the Hunting season lasts for six months, but OBC hunts for a maximum of four months. Few animals are shot from the Hunting permit.

4.2 Animals hunted in migratory routes.

The Government of Tanzania has permitted Hunting in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area and not in the migratory route between Masai Mara and Serengeti National Park. The Loliondo Game Controlled Area is a plain bordering the Serengeti National Park to the east.

4.3 The right for Tanzania to use wildlife in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area

The wildlife found in Tanzania is the property of the Government of Tanzania. The notion that these animals belong to Kenya is not correct. The wild animals in Loliondo Game Controlled Area do not have dual citizenship . Since some animal species move back and forth between Tanzania and Kenya it is better understood that these animals would be recognised to belong to either party during the time they are in that particular country. Animals in Masai Mara, Serengeti, Loliondo and Ngorongoro belong to one ecosystem namely, Serengeti ecosystem. However, Tanzania being a sovereign State with her own policies has the right by law to implement them. The same applies to Kenya, which has the right to implement its no-Hunting policy basing on the administration of her laws. Tanzania has therefore, not done anything wrong to undertake Hunting on her territory.

4.4 Hunting is threatening Kenyan tourism

Migratory animals move into Kenya during the rainy season. After the rainy season they move back to Tanzania. Animals that are hunted in Liliondo Game Controlled Area during this time of the year are very few. In the year 2000, only 150 animals were hunted, and in the year 2001 only 139 animals were hunted. It is therefore, not true that 80% of the animals in the border area were hunted. Based on this argument, it is also not true that Hunting conducted by OBC is threatening the Kenyan tourism industry. Tanzania does not allow Hunting of elephants 10 kilometres from the Tanzania/Kenya international boundary. (CITES meeting held at the Secretariat Offices in Geneva in 1993). This is an example of the measures taken to control what was erroneously referred to by the East African Paper as “haphazard Hunting of animals of Kenya”.

Furthermore, it is not true that the Wildlife Division does not know the number of animals that are killed. Control of Hunting is done by the Wildlife Division, District Council and other Law Enforcement agencies. The OBC does not capture and export live animals since it does not possess valid licence to do so.

4.5 OBC airplances export assorted number of live animals from Loliondo to UAE

Capture and export of live animals and birds is conducted in accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act No. 12 of 1974 and resolutions of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The live animal trade is also conducted in accordance with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations, with regard to the size of the boxes/containers allowed to transport specific animal species in order to avoid injuries or death of the same. The principle behind the live animal trade is sustainability. CITES may prohibit exportation of animals whose trade is not sustainable. On these grounds it is obvious that CITES and therefore, its 150 members recognise that the Tanzanian live animal trade is sustainable.

Live animal traders who exports animals, birds and other live specimens are obliged to adhere to the following procedure:

i) Must hold valid licence to trade on live animals.

ii) Must hold a capture permit and thereafter an ownership permit./certificate. The number of animals possessed and the number of animals listed on the ownership permit must be consistent with the number of animals that were listed in the capture permit and actually captured and certified.

iii) Must obtain an export permit for animals listed on the ownership permit/certificate.

iv) The Officer at the point of exit must certify that the animals exported are those listed on the certificate of export. The number of animals to be exported must tally with the number listed on the certificate of export.

Verification of exported animals is conducted in collaboration with the police and customs officials.

v) The plane that will carry live animals is inspected by the Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro Handling Companies’ Officials.

vi) For animals listed under CITES, appropriate export and import certificates are used to export the said specimens. If there is any anomaly in exporting CITES species, the importing country notifies CITES Secretariat, which in turn notifies the exporting country, and the animals in question are immediately returned to the country of export.

4.6 Other specific isues

4.6.1 Hunters are given blank permits

Companies are issued Hunting quotas before they commence Hunting activities. Each hunter is given a permit, which shows the animals that he/she is allowed to hunt depending on the quota issued and the type of safari. There are four types of safari Hunting as follows: 7, 14, 16 and 21 days safari. Each Hunting safari indicates species and numbers of animals to be hunted. When an animal is killed or wounded the officer in-charge overseeing Hunting activities signs to certify that the respective animal has been killed. If the animal has been wounded, the animal is tracked down and killed to ensure that no other animal is killed to replace the wounded animal at large. This procedure is a measure of monitoring of animals killed by hunters.

4.6.2 Good Neighbourhood Meetings between Tanzania and Kenya

There are three platforms on which Tanzania and Kenya meet to discuss conservation issues as follows:

a) The Environment and Tourism Committee of the EAC.

b) The Lusaka Agreement. In the Lusaka Agreement Meeting conservation and anti-poaching matters amongst member countries are discussed. The HQ of the Lusaka Agreement is in Nairobi.

c) Neighbourhood meeting. Experts in the contiguous conservation areas meet to discuss areas of cooperation between them, for example, in joint anti-poaching operations. Based on the regulations that govern the Hunting industry animals are not threatened by extinction since the animals that are hunted are old males for the purpose of obtaining good trophies. Trophies are attractions in this Hunting business. It is on this basis that tourist Hunting is not discussed in the said meetings, because is not an issue for both countries.

4.6.3 OBC airplanes flies directly to and from Loliondo without passing through KIA

The Tanzania Air Traffic Law requires that all airplanes land at KIA before they depart to protected areas. When the airplanes are at KIA and DIA the respective authorities conduct their duties according. The same applies when airplanes fly to UAE. They are required to land at KIA in order to go through immigration and customs checks. The allegation that OBC airplane does not land in KIA is therefore false. Furthermore, Tanzania Air Traffic Control regulates all airplanes includingly, OBC airplane at entry points.

4.6.4 OBC sprays salt in some parts of the Loliondo Game Controlled Area in order to attract animals from Serengeti National Park.

These allegations are baseless since the Tourist Hunting Regulations (2000) prohibit distribution of water and salt at the Hunting site in order to attract animals for Hunting. Besides the Game Scouts who supervise Hunting had never reported this episode. Furthermore, there are no reports that OBC is responsible for wild fires that gutters the south of the Serengeti National Park.

4.6.5 Cancellation of OBC block permit in 1999 since it was involved in the exportation of live animals.

This allegation is not true. The truth is that Hunting blocks are allocated to Hunting companies after every five years. The allocation that was done in 1995 expired in 1999. The next allocation was done in year 2000 and the companies will use the allocated blocks until 2004.

4.6.6 The UAE Royal Family contributions to the Wildlife Division

This is true. The Wildlife Division had received support from the UAE including: vehicles, transceivers and field gear in 1996. This was part of the fulfilment of the obligation by all Hunting companies to contribute towards conservation and anti-poaching activities.

Conclusion:

Records in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism show that there is no other District in Tanzania with Hunting area, other than Ngorongoro District, that receives enormous funds from Hunting business for community development. OBC contributes up to TSh. 354,967,000.00 annually for community development in Loliondo.

The Government of Tanzania has no reasons to stop the Hunting activities in Loliondo Game Controlled Area. The government sees that local communities and the Ngorongoro District Council benefit from the Hunting industry.

Edited by - lifer on 04/16/2002 20:57:41

Extract ID: 3793

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Personal Communication
Extract Author: Indigenous Rights for Survival International
Page Number: a
Extract Date: 2/1/03

Stop the killing fields of Loliondo

Dear Friend(s),

I could not help but write this letter (see attachment [extract 3733]) to the President of The United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Mkapa, urging him to STOP the killing fields of Loliondo.

As a Tanzanian, I have a moral obligation to rise concerns over the negative impacts on Maasai communities, wildlife, and their shared habitat of the Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC), a United Arab Emirates hunting company operating in the Loliondo Game Controlled Area in northern Tanzania. With a full support from the Government of Tanzania, OBC is grossly violating fundamental human rights as well as undermining the stability of the region’s wildlife and natural habitats in Loliondo, Ngorongoro District.

Perhaps you are willing and able to help, discuss, advise the Government to stop the said crime. I understand the power of the press, so the letter can be published if possible. Otherwise you can forward it to as many people and organizations as you can.

I am at your disposal in case of comments and questions.

Thank you very much in advance.

Peace.

Navaya ole Ndaskoi

P.O. Box 13357

Dar Es Salaam

Tanzania.

E-mail:ndaskoi@uccmail.co.tz

Extract ID: 3735

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Personal Communication
Extract Author: Indigenous Rights for Survival International
Page Number: b
Extract Date: 2/1/03

Stop the killing fields of Loliondo

[click on the link to see the original MS Word document]

Indigenous Rights for Survival International

P.O. Box 13357

Dar Es Salaam.

E-mail: ndaskoi@uccmail.co.tz

Alternative E-mail: fighters@bushlink.com

02.01.2003

The President

The United Republic of Tanzania

P.O. Box 9120

Dar Es Salaam.

Ref. No.L/32.pipex.02.

If it pleases the Honourable President Benjamin Mkapa

Re: Stop the killing fields of Loliondo

I am a Tanzanian citizen, a strong believer in social justice. Under the same spirit I am the Co-coordinator of an informal group called Indigenous Rights for Survival International (IRSI). IRSI is a loose network of young people with an interest in public policy issues in Africa. We mainly discuss policy issues through emails communications and ultimately write articles in the press. IRSI as an entity takes no position on any of the discussed issues instead it simply stimulates, steers, and co-ordinates discussions and debates on public policy issues of members’ interest.

Mr. President, I have all along believed that you can stop the crime against humanity being inflicted upon the people of Loliondo, Ngorongoro District of Arusha Region by a no less authority than the Government of Tanzania.

Mr. President, Loliondo Division is located in Maasai ancestral lands in the northern part of Tanzania along the common border with Kenya. It borders the Ngorongoro highlands to the south, Serengeti National Park to the west, and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya to the north. The Loliondo Game Controlled Area (LCGA) encompasses an estimated 4,000 sq km. There is no physical barrier separating the LGCA from other protected areas. It is a continuous ecosystem. LGCA was initially established in 1959 as a Game Reserve by the British colonialists under the then Fauna Conservation Ordinance, Section 302, a legal instrument the colonial authorities used to set aside portions of land for wildlife conservation. The legal status of the reserve was later changed to that of a Game Controlled Area to allow for commercial Hunting, a status that defines LGCA today and haunts its wildlife.

Mr. President, Loliondo forms an important part of the semi-annual migratory route of millions of wildebeests and other ungulates northward into the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and Amboseli National Park in Kenya between April and June, and returning southward later in the year. The survival of the Ngorongoro-Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem and the wildlife it supports is linked to the existence of Loliondo and other surrounding communal Maasai lands in Tanzania and Kenya. Similarly, the survival of the Maasai people is dependent entirely upon the protection of their ancestral land for economic viability and cultural reproduction. Land to the Maasai is the foundation for their spirituality and the base for identity.

Mr. President, the people of Ngorongoro District in general and Loliondo Division in particular have suffered for a long time various established pains such as irrational grabbing of their ancestral land for “development”, tourism (consumptive and non-consumptive) and cultivation. While the people of Loliondo have lost much of their ancestral land to cultivation, the Government is evidently supporting private investors to further put Maasai pastoralists of Loliondo at a very awkward corner.

In 1992, the administration of the former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi granted the entire Loliondo Game Controlled Area (LGCA) as a Hunting concession to the Otterlo Business Corporation Ltd (OBC), a game-Hunting firm based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Government issued a 10-year Hunting permit, under the controversial agreement, to the Brigadier Mohammed Abdulrahim Al-Ali, believed to be a member of the royal family of the UAE, of Abu Dhabi in the UAE who owns (OBC). The grabbed land is a birthright land of thousands of villagers of Arash, Soitsambu, Oloipiri, Ololosokwan, Loosoito and Oloirien villages of Loliondo.

Mr. President, a Parliamentary Committee was formed to probe the Loliondo Gate saga. It revoked the dirty agreement. Strangely, a similar agreement was established.

In January 2000, OBC was granted another 5-year Hunting permit in the said area. As usual, without the villagers’ consent. OBC constructed an airstrip. 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 to Dar Es Salaam in April 2000. The intention was to sort out the matter with you Mr. President. Unfortunately, they did not see you.

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 your Government and the Arab in connection with the plunder of the resources. The Maasai said that before a mass exodus of the Maasai to Kenya the first thing was to eliminate wild animals. Thereafter, the delegation retreated to Loliondo, as gravely frustrated as before.

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.” To its credit, The Guardian went to Loliondo. It reported the following:

Maasai elders in Loliondo, Arusha Region, who recently declared a land dispute against OBC 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 OBC, 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 Meghji, 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 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).

Mr. President, 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? Can it be claimed that the Maasai were party to this so-called agreement? I am at a loss why this-well known-Minister has not been made to face the full force of the law.

In the proposal, Brigadier Al Ali outlined the benefits of his operations in Loliondo to the Government, local communities, and wildlife conservation in the Serengeti-Maasai Mara-Ngorongoro ecosystem. Among its important objectives were:

• To conserve an area contiguous to the Serengeti National Park, which is essential to the long-term survival of the ecosystem and its migration.

• To develop a new role and image for the Arab world as regards wildlife conservation, management, and human development.

• To improve locals’ revenue, development facilities, and create employment.

• To generate revenues for the Central and District Governments.

The OBC now stands accused of self-contradiction and violation of legal and moral obligations in virtually all the above areas, resulting instead in environmental destruction; unfulfilled promises and exploitation of the local communities; and direct undermining of the stability of the region’s wildlife and natural habitats.

It has become evident that OBC had a long-term agenda for exploiting the high concentration of wildlife in Loliondo. Its Hunting operations are guaranteed by the continuous flow of wildlife from the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Maasai Mara, and other areas. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, OBC "was taking advantage of migratory patterns of wildlife coming out of Serengeti."

Mr. President, be informed that the villages in and adjacent to protected areas in Tanzania have no Government-supported infrastructures. Take Ngorongoro District for instance. There is no Government hospital in Ngorongoro. It may take a week to travel from Arusha to Loliondo, just less than 400 km, depending on weather, for there is no road. There is no even a single Government advanced level secondary education school in six (repeat six) Districts in the Greater Serengeti Region. 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.

Mr. President, the Maasai of Loliondo have for a long time accused OBC of grave human rights abuses. They have described acts of intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, and even torture by OBC staff, Tanzanian police and military in the name of OBC; brazen violations of grazing and land rights; and wanton environmental destruction and imminent extermination of wildlife. They have seen leaders who once opposed OBC’s practices corrupted and bought-off.

The OBC operates like a separate arm of the Government. Many people in Loliondo believe that OBC is even more powerful than the Government. The Maa word for "the Arab", Olarrabui, is often used to refer Brigadier Al Ali, and by extension OBC. The word Olarrabui has become synonymous with power, authority, brutality, fear, and entities larger than life.

Mr. President, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to comprehend that this is the clearest case of abuse of office. It is suggested, for those willing to avert disaster, the Tanzania Government included, that immediate steps be taken to put to an end the violation of fundamental human rights in Ngorongoro. As to lands lost in Loliondo, the Government is advised to return this to its owners. Land should not be grabbed senselessly. The Government, should at once, re-look into the whole matter.

Regards,

Navaya ole Ndaskoi.

CC

- The International Court of Justice

- The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights

- The United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations

- Human Rights Groups around the World

- Faculty of Law of the University of Dar Es Salaam

- Local and International Conservation Agencies

- Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources

- The Attorney General

- The Chief Justice

- The Speaker of the United Republic of Tanzania Parliament

- The Press, print and electronic

- Political parties in Tanzania

- Tanganyika Law Society

- Other interested parties.

Navaya ole Ndaskoi

see also Extract 3734

The Maasai protest delegation holding a press conference in Dar Es Salaam in 2000

Extract ID: 3733
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