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Land disputes precipitate skirmishes in society, says DAS

THE Arumeru District Administrative Secretary (DAS), Mr James Mchembe has warned that ethnic profiles being witnessed in the area are likely to exacerbate, unless land disputes rocking the area are addressed.

Mr Mchembe made the observation, while speaking in a three week training wind up on land use planning, management and administration in Uwiro Ward, attended by 24 technicians drawn from Arusha and Meru District Councils.

He pointed out that singling out a community(ies) because of their identity in the pursuit of pasture and water for their livestock and any human activity will keep on escalating the land clashes in the area located on Mt Meru’s leeward side.

“A huge chunk of the land in this area is under the village’s custody, and therefore it is imperative to shun such labeling and profiling among the communities coming from this area,” explained Mr Mchembe.

His caution comes as the communities in the area, which are inhabited by the Maasai and the Meru, have occasionally been engaging in fierce battles over land ownership.

The two communities have been scrambling for limited resources for grazing and farming spaces available in the Ward.

The area district administrative secretary was, however optimistic that the village land use management can be reviewed to keep off such skirmishes that have for a long time threatened the people’s livelihoods.

The three week training was organised in the framework of activities under the TERRA Project which is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Corporation and implemented by Instituto Oikos, an Italian organisation working in the region.

Earlier on, TERRA’s Project Manager, Mr Dario Sbrocca commended the joint efforts of the local institutions and the civil societies towards a significant step to ensure that there was more effective management of Arumeru District’s land and natural resources.

According to Mr Sbrocca, the move will also mitigate the land disputes, while at the same time increase the communities’ resilience in the face of the ever changing climatic patterns.

“The resilience of the rural communities will increase against negative effects of climate change,” he said. In March last year, under the technical supervision of the National Land Use Planning Commission (NLUPC), the trainees which included Planning, Livestock, Water and Environment technicians, were provided with a comprehensive overview of the legal framework regulating land administration and management activities.

During the ongoing training, the technicians were also trained on the use and application of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Satellite images to collect and store information for the preparation of maps needed for land use planning and management purposes.

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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