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Land grabbing is bad, it must be stopped

The land has been handed back to its original owners after intervention by the Secretary General of CCM, Mr Abdulrahman Kinana, who visited the area at the weekend and met the affected farmers who demanded their land back.

It is incredible that respectable leaders, including those in CCM and the government, should collude with village leaders to usurp land from poor subsistence peasants in the rural drought-prone district.

The scam has incensed the MP for Simanjiro, Mr Christopher Ole Sendeka, to say the least. He has paraded the names of all the culprits to Mr Kinana, who in turn has told the affected villagers that the names would be given to President Jakaya Kikwete for action.

In fact, the Simanjiro land grabbers have trodden on raw nerves. The phenomenon is already a bitter undertaking that has seen some so-called investors being engaged in a stiff fight with villagers.

But the domestic land grabbers, including those in Simanjiro, are not the only menace. Some farmers in this country had a raw deal when their farmland was passed to foreign investors with little or no compensation at all.

It is worthwhile to point out here that this is an undesirable practice that knocks small-scale farmers off their feet not only in Tanzania but also in other African countries and farther afield.

Many kind-hearted activists around the world have raised concerns that poor villagers, including those in Tanzania, will be forced off their land and agribusinesses in the near future, a sorry spectacle that will marginalize subsistence farming.

But many investments have failed due to insufficient soil fertility, financing difficulties or over-ambitious business plans. In Tanzania, for example, some large bio-fuels projects have now been abandoned.

But the land still remains in the hands of the “looters.” So, some of the poorest people in this country are losing their land, water and natural resources that have supported their livelihoods for generations.

Yet it is these poor farmers who have provided the backbone of the economy for long. They should be protected.

ON Monday next week, Tanzanian women will join ...

Author: EDITOR

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