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‘Green energy’ used as a pretext for land grabbing

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    [TD="class: contentheading, width: 100%"]‘Green energy’ used as a pretext for land grabbing [/TD]
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    [TD="class: createdate"]Saturday, 04 February 2012 10:08 [/TD]
    By Joyce Mmasi
    The Citizen Reporter
    Dar es Salaam.

    Most of the current land conflicts in the country pit villagers against investors in agriculture who mainly cultivate crops for the production of ‘green energy’, a research conducted by the Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team (Leat) shows.

    Leat is a civil society organization that conducts activism on issues of land and investments in the country.
    The research conducted recently in Tanga, Lindi and Coast regions reveals a new trend of land-grabbing through the ‘noble cause’ of production of bio-energy that would save the world from further warming caused by fossil fuels.

    A separate research conducted in Tanzania by the US-based Oakland Institute last year indicates that land acquired through agricultural investment-related deals is about 550,402 hectares. This is out of over 4 million ha requested by the investors. Official data, however, indicate that only about 70,000 ha had actually been formally leased as of December 2010. Most of the land has been acquired for cultivating jatropha, sugarcane, palm oil, rice and maize.

    “Land in Tanzania is being taken for allegedly environmental reasons, to allow private companies to grow water-thirsty sugar cane and jatropha for HYPERLINK “http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/biofuels” \o “More from guardian.co.uk on Biofuels”bio-fuel production that is so much in demand in the West, where green legislations, designed to ease carbon emissions, require reduced use of fossil fuels,” said George Ngolo, a researcher with Leat who was part of the team that conducted the research.

    The Leat report argues that fundamental weaknesses in land laws and land tenure system in the country have fueled land grabbing under the pretext of fulfilling the noble cause of mitigating the effects of the climate change.
    Another problem is the “abandoned” or “underutilized” land mentality. This is a kind of thinking propounded, mainly by politicians, to the effect that Tanzania has millions of hectares of underutilized land.

    “Leat think this preaching that we have a lot of land in Tanzania underutilized should not be encouraged because the government is not sure statistically about the actual size of land in Tanzania due to the fact that not more than 2 per cent of land in village has been surveyed and properly documented for land use plan,” said Mr Ngolo.

    The Land legislation also gives the President too much power over land. Being a political leader, many
    people may not be comfortable with him being a proper person to acquiring land from people
    for public interests because, as in many cases public interest have not proved to be interests per se, says Mr Ngolo.

    “With the rampant corruption in the politics of Tanzania today, political leaders should be the last persons to take part in engaging in land matters. Otherwise, the kind of person to occupy this position should be of strong character and integrity,” he added. Another big flop of land laws in the country is that they provide for compulsory land acquisition by the government. Through the land Acts No 4 and 5 of 1999 and the Land Acquisition Act of 1967 the government has been acquiring chunks of land without following proper procedures, said Mr Ngolo.

    Using the land laws the government has also been undermining customary land rights, which have increasingly been regarded as inferior to granted land rights. The fact that most of the village land is not surveyed encourages land grabbing from villagers majority of whom possess land by customary right of occupancy.

    What is usually done, according to Mr Ngolo is that the villagers are enticed by empty promises, by investors, and end up allowing the acquisition of huge chunks of land. But at the end of the day not promise is fulfilled.

    The Leat report suggests measures to be taken by the government to end land problems in the country. These include carrying out a thorough research all over the country to determine whether investments in land deals have really benefited not only the government but also the local people.

    “If the results are negative, it is better to stop new investment in land altogether,” says the report.
    Civic education on land rights should be provided to the people. This will assist in raising awareness among owners of land to be able to demanding their rights when they are violated.The people must also be duly consulted by the government before land is issued to investors. This should reduce misgivings among the local population.

    The Leat report also urges the government to supervise prompt payments of compensation to victims of land dispossession in the country. These compensations should include the cost for an exhausted improvements, disturbance allowances, transport allowances and others depending on the agreement reached.

    “If the above recommendations will be adhered investment in Tanzania will flourish and bring forth development for both investors and the local people,” says the report. Tanzania’s land problems stem from the colonial era, according to Leat, when the British abused the natives’ rights to own land by giving away their land with collaborating chiefs.

  2. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    Unfortunately this green energy thing is not for Tanzanians. It is for foreigners.
  3. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    Mkuu Jasusi what do you expect from this Government!? Anything that has value in our beautiful country belongs to Wachukuaji.
  4. PatPending

    PatPending JF-Expert Member

    Feb 6, 2012
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    The common pretexts are food security and greener energy. It is as if the current production setup, however, criminally underproductive has failed to feed the nation. Huu wote ni wizi tu na hizi lease za miaka 99 kwa wageni ni kejeli kwa wazawa sie tunaozungushwa kila mara tunapojaribu kusajili ardhi yetu.

    All these foreign land leases make you wonder why on earth the government keeps blabbing on the need to retain souvereignty over land in the East African process. Migogoro ya ardhi hapa ndani haaiishi, ajira hakuna and yet watu badala ya kuhamasisha vijana wajiajiri kwenye kilimo na ufugaji kwa kutumia rasilimali ardhi, wao wanakwenda kuiuza kwa "washirika wao" wa bara Asia, Amerika na Ulaya.

    Kuna wakati mtu unaona fedheha kuitwa Mtanzania kutokana na maamuzi ya hovyo kama haya ya wanaoendesha nchi.