Civil, Faith-based Entities in Africa Denounce “forceful eviction” of Maasais in Tanzania

Credit: Caritas Internationalis

Civil and Faith-based organizations with presence in Africa are against the unilateral decision of the Government of Tanzania to evict the Maasai from their ancestral land within Conservancy Areas in the Northern part of the country.

Thousands of Maasai pastoralists have been asked to move from their ancestral home in the Loliondo and Ngorongoro Conservation Area to pave way for the government to lease the land to Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC), a company based in the United Arab Emirates, to create  elite tourism.

In a Wednesday, November 2 statement shared with ACI Africa, the civil and faith-based organization leaders say around 160,000 Maasais are affected by the decision of the Government of Tanzania to “forcefully evict them out of their ancestral lands.”

“We wish to express our solidarity with the struggle of the Maasai communities living in Loliondo and in Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania,” they say, adding that they are disturbed by the government’ allegation that the Maasai people are a threat to the wildlife and environment they currently live in.

They say that the “Maasai Indigenous Peoples have preserved their environment and lived in coexistence with the wildlife in these areas for centuries. Now the Tanzanian Government is arguing that they are a threat to the environment, and that the only way to protect it is to remove the people from their ancestral lands.”


The civil and faith-based leaders opine that the Tanzanian government is “using a false narrative of conservation to promote elite tourism and commercial hunting”, which they say have “a highly detrimental impact on the environment.”

Officials of the organizations that include the International Cooperation for Development Solidarity (CIDSE) and the Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network (AEFJN) also express concern about the alleged decision by the Tanzanian government to stop social services in Ngorongoro, putting pressure on the Catholic Church to cut down on emergency health services, maternity and childcare.

The government of Tanzania has also arrested some members of the Maasai community and seized their livestock to “silence them and stop any resistance,” the civil and faith-based leaders say.

They say actions by the Tanzanian government are “purposely designed to force people out of the Ngorongoro area, as life will become unbearable without essential services such as health care.”

“This will severely affect the most vulnerable groups: pregnant women and mothers with their small children,” they say.

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The civil and faith-based leaders call on the Tanzanian government to “halt forced evictions and start consultations with the Maasai in compliance with international human rights obligations and national laws that state that decisions that will have an impact on Maasai communities have to be made with their involvement, consultation, and free prior and informed consent.”

Since the Maasai, livestock and wildlife can co-exist, they add that solutions to this crisis can be found by building on the pastoralists’ traditional knowledge and practices.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.