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TGNP says govt grabbing villagers' land in regions

TGNP Executive Director, Usu Mallya
The Tanzania Gender and Networking Programme (TGNP) has strongly blamed the government for grabbing the Mshewe residents’ land in Mbeya Rural District and sold it to investors, leaving the villagers as tenants and workers on their ancestors’ land.

TGNP Executive Director Usu Mallya revealed this when briefing journalists in Dar es Salaam on the investigation report that was conducted by the NGO in May in the three regions of Morogoro, Shinyanga and Mbeya.

Mallya said that investors in Mbeya Region at Mshewe village, in particular have been given the land grabbed by the government leaving the indigenous being mere vasals and tenants in the plantations at low wages.

According to the report, Mallya said men are forced to bribe in order to get a chance to work in the plantations. Whereas on the other hand, women and young girls become labourers paid low wages of between 2,500/- and 3,000/- a day.

She said as a result women and girls working in those plantations have been facing various challenges such as gender violence including sexual bribery which has disseminated sexual diseases including HIV/Aids, gonorrhea, among other in the area.

She further said in their findings, they have also realised that in Kisaki Ward in Morogoro Rural Dustruct, there is a land dispute between small farmers and pastoralists. The dispute has led to the clearing of crops of farmers due to lack of area for pasturing.

Mallya said that the land dispute in that area has mainly been caused by corruption. Whereby, pastoralists are alleged to bribe local government leaders so that they should not be disturbed when they trespass to areas belonged to farmers, which are for cultivation.

Again, according to TGNP findings, lack of clean and safe water was another serious issue that needed quick measures to address it.

Mallya said that despite the national water policy whose one of the objectives in to ensure water availability is not found more than 400 meters. But it has failed to fulfill it, she barked.

In Isoso and Lubaga wards in Kishapu, water problem to people lead women and girls to travel distant routes searching for water. However, most often they have found themselves in difficult and dangerous situations, some being getting unexpected pregnancies after being raped in search of water.

Their report has also indicated that poor health services at Ilota village in Mbeya, Kisaki in Morogoro was still a major challenge. There are no enough medicines in some dispensaries. In Morogoro some residents are forced to contribute 70,000/-
Meanwhile, TGNP has called for the government to give back land taken from Mshewe residents so that they could continue with their usual lives as owners of a land and not refuge in their own country.

They have also urged leaders to fulfill their promises they had promised during their campaigns and should not remain silent. “Don’t turn these poor people as your capitals during political campaigns during general elections only, fulfill your promises to them,” she noted.

On their part, the Mshewe residents in Mbeya rural have claimed that their fertile land, on which they have been depending for decades has been given to investors, denying them land for agriculture and residential.

“We have been forced to become cheap labourers in investors’ plantations so that we can get a living, otherwise we can starve and eventually die of hunger if we don’t do that,” they lamented bitterly.

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