Govt gets tough to protect Kilombero. Where was the government before? Can it prevent violence?

August 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Kadulyu’s comment to the article which appeared on http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/component/content/article/37-tanzania-top-news-story/25076-govt-gets-tough-in-bid-to-protect-kilombero.html

I do agree that we need to protect our large ecosystem sites for long term sustainability. The question is how and when to do that. And also realizing the challenges of increasing population, scale illiteracy among our people, global warming and environmental degradation through human activities.

People movements to seek for greener pastures hasn’t started today neither will it end tomorrow! few hundreds of years ago the population of Africa was very small compared to now and at time the continent was just sparsely populated. But over time development has continuously been evolving resulting into relatively better life, productivity and fertility. We are continuously having  more mouths to feed and more kids to take to school, etc.

Amidst exponential growth of social demands and sustainability of life supported by a diminishing or limited resources, how can we intelligently  tackle the issues of greener pastures seekers? The whole problem is more complicated than just expelling livestock keepers from the wetlands and other reserved lands but how can we do that and where do we take them? Livestock industry can benefit people and get them out of poverty if modern ways keeping them is embraced. Currently livestock seem to be a curse to us same as gold and oil in Africa. We seem not ready to benefit out of even good things we possess, what a country? What a continent?

Wasukuma and Masai are universally known of their proud culture of keeping livestock. Down 50 years of independence no steps have proactively been taken years over to help these traditional livestock keepers adopt to new ways keeping livestock and turn them into money making machines. Sukuma and Masai are still using the old traditional ways of raising and tending cattle characterized by poor productivity and low quality farm products. The number of cattle outgrows the base to support them a reason why they continue to move and look for an alternative. Low literacy amongst livestock keepers challenges absorption of new knowledge and ideas of how one can improve productivity. Among all the challenges illiteracy is an insurmountable barrier to improving livestock industry in the country.

So instead employing reactionary measures which only end up being violent and plunge our people into even abject poverty, we should think of the more sustainable way of handling this sensitive issue. Livestock immigrants did not start overnight, it was a gradual process, they feel now settled. If they do have thousands of animals as the article puts it, then a quickly rushed decision may prove to be disastrous. It has to be a gradual process including creating awareness to the importance of this ecological bank.

The best solution would be a gradual resettlement while reducing the number of cattle per household and replacing such with an alternative activity or economic benefits. They started moving there in a day broad light, they did not just sneak in. The responsible local district councils (Kilombero and Ulanga) saw it as early as it started but yet they did not take any plausible action to prevent it. It started small, resolving it timely would require less effort and resources. Now, as late as it is it requires the central government, regional admin, Districts admin, security organs etc. Tax payer’s money is going to be spent, not in thousands but in millions of tax payers’ money. It may end up being violent as well or potentially resulting into injury, loss of lives and properties. I urge all responsible colleagues to employ what it takes to avoid injury or loss of lives and sustainably seek to relocate our fellow citizens peacefully.

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