Source: The Citizen

Ngorongoro. Boers opted for an extreme form of racism to claim a lion’s share of South Africa’s resources and human rights at the expense of the majority black Africans. Using all resources at its disposal to embark on a vigorous fight against the apartheid regime, Tanzania confirmed that it loathes racism and all other forms of discrimination. Surprisingly, however, discrimination abounds in Tanzania with male chauvinism taking its toll on women in the name of maintenance of culture in the 21st century. 

Maasai, who are credited for successfully preserving their own traditional way of living against all the lures of the modern world, attest the proverbial saying that not all that glitters is gold. 


The warriors have all along been denying women of property ownership and basic human rights against Article 24 (1) of the Constitution which says ‘every person is entitled to own property and has a right to the protection of his property held in accordance with the law’.


Likening the Masaai male chauvinism with apartheid, Nairri Parakwo, a woman from Ololosokwan Village, pleads with her ethnic group’s decision makers to consider abolishing the fly in the ointment.

“Denying women of land ownership is tantamount to strangling them economically and negating gender parity,” she laments.

Maasai women will never engage in any meaningful economic activity such as livestock keeping, farming or business ventures as long as they lack land, she explains. Another Maasai woman from Malambo Village Ndawasai Naitisile complains over men sidelining them in negotiating deals with prospective investors. “Not a single woman is a signatory to all agreements reached with investors operating in this area,” she observes.


Parkipuny Saibulu, a Maasai elder, admits his ethnic group marginalises a woman and uses her as a tool for taking care of her family. “Tradition forbids a woman to own land, livestock or other resources. It confines her to domestic chores,” he says. Saibulu’s confession explains why Maasai women live miserably in the midst of the booming tourism investments in Ngorongoro.


Resources curse?

Endowed with abundant natural resources, including the world’s heritage crater, Ngorongoro boasts earning nearly $60 million (about Sh950 billion) accrued from 520,000 tourists visiting attractions each year. Loliondo Game Controlled Area (LCGA) encompassing an estimated 4,000 square kilometers, roughly one third of the Serengeti National Park area, also belongs to the district.


The LCGA’s high concentration of biodiversity has attracted the United Arab Emirates Royal hunting firm - Ortello Business Corporation (OBC) - to invest in commercial trophy hunting. OBC fetches Tanzania $819,000 (about Sh13 billion) in concession and trophy fees annually. Each year OBC pays the central government, eight villages surrounding LGCA and Ngorongoro District Council $560,000 (about Sh880 million), $150,000 (over Sh230 million) and $109,000 (over Sh170 million), respectively.


Ngorongoro district commissioner Elias Wawa-Lali enumerates the eight villages which get $16, 666.7 (over Sh26 million) per anum as Ololosokwan, Soitsambu, Oloipiri, Oloirien-Magaiduru, Loosoito-Maaloni, Piyaya, Malambo and Arash. The Maasai woman, nonetheless, has nothing to celebrate the income whose expenditure is determined by men.    


Enough is enough 

Ujamaa Community Resources Team works with Tanzania’s legal and policy framework to support pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and hunter-gatherers facing threats of encroachment on their land, natural resources and rights. Believing in so doing it strengthens the voice of the local people for it to be heard in the corridors of power, UCRT is assisting the pastoral woman in restoring her lost rights in the Maasai community.  


Gender officer with the team Paine Eulalia Saing’eu says a one-year project had been established to enlighten the marginalised woman on land laws.

“Almost all villages in Ngorongoro have so far been covered and nearly 148 women leadership forums have been formed to spearhead the diplomatic campaign on claiming their rights,” she explains.


“The initiative will see the woman’s potential to make constructive decisions in the Maasai ethnic group recognised,” UCRT field officer Simon Alakara says. The project training modules cover the 1999 Land Act No. 4 and 5, the 2002 Land Dispute Settlement Act No. 2, the 1982 Local Government – District authorities Act No. 7 and the 2007 Land Use Planning Act no. 6, among others.


The UCRT project anticipates reaching 400 women in Ngorongoro, Simanjiro, Kiteto, Monduli, Mbulu, Karatu, Hanang, Arumeru and Longido districts. ends


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