IN efforts to enable villagers to benefit from natural resources in their areas, development stakeholders have called for a review of some conflicting laws that deny people their rights.
According to them, the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1974 and that of 2009 are among the laws contradicting each other. While the former recognises all conservation areas and poses no restriction on human activities, the latter strictly restricts such activities.
Presenting a topic on “Challenges of Managing Natural Resources with Conflicting Legislation: The Case of The Wildlife Act” in Dar es Salaam recently during a breakfast debate organised by Tanzania Natural Resources Forum (TRNF), Ujamaa Community Resource Team Programme Coordinator Edward Lekaita said: “While the two laws contradict each other, the Village Land Act No 5 of 1999 and the Land Act No 4 of 1999, stipulate that all areas are land for villages.
Again, he added, it was so confusing when the Mining Act gave the responsible minister the mandate to issue permits for mineral exploration anywhere, but when found in one’s area, the (land) owner must vacate without directly benefiting from explored minerals.
“Only compensation is to be given to persons who vacate despite the fact that she/he legally occupied land for many years,” said the presenter.
“Those are few examples of conflicting laws, but there are still many of them. What we suggest is that before enacting new laws, these should be harmonised first to avoid confusion. Local communities should also be involved in the preparation of Bill,” he said.
Babati Rural MP Jitu Soni supported the idea, saying inclusion of local communities in law enactment process would save wildlife, the environment and conservation of all natural resources in general.