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Monday, December 21, 2009

MATUNDA YA DHULUMA NA UNYANYASAJI WA JAMII YA WAFUGAJI HANANG'

Kwa mara nyingine wiki iliyopita Taifa la Tanzania limepata doa jingine katika kile tukiitacho amani na utulivu, hizi ni nyimbo tumezokuwa tukiaminishwa na kuimba kila uchao bila kujali kuwa katika uhalisia wa mambo hatuwezi kujidai kuwa kisiwa cha amani na utulivu katika mazingira ya unyanyasaji, dhuluma na ubinafsi uliopita kipimo wa baadhi miongoni mwetu. Katika kudhihirisha kuwa hali si shwari baada ya dhuluma ya miongo takribani mitatu jamii ya wafugaji wa Hanang katika nyanda za malisho za Bassotu wameamua kuvunja ukimya na kuionyesha Tanzania na dunia kuwa sasa wamefika ukomo wa subira na uvumilivu. Wazalendo wa Hanang’ baada ya kilio chao cha muda mrefu kwa serikali ili warejeshewe mashamba yao yaliyopokwa mwishoni mwa miaka ya 70 na serikali ili kuanzisha kilimo cha ngano tena kwa kutumia nguvu wameamua kuvunja ukimya.

Ili kuyaelewa matukio haya vyema ni bora kurejea nyuma na kuangalia historia ya eneo lenye mgogoro. Mashamba ya Gawal, Setchet, Murjanda, Gidagamowd, Mulbadaw, Bassotu na Warret yanapatikana katika iliyokuwa nyanda ya malisho ya Bassotu (Bassotu Plains), Serikali ya awamu ya kwanza chini ya Baba wa Taifa Mwalimu J. K Nyerere iliamua kuyachukua maeneo haya kwa ajili ya kuanzisha kilimo cha mashamba makubwa ya ngano chini ya mradi uliokuwa ukiendeshwa na Shirika la Taifa la Kilimo na Chakula (NAFCO) kwa msaada wa Serikali ya Canada kupitia shirika lake la Msaada la Kimataifa CIDA, takribani ekari 100,000 zilichukuliwa kutoka kwa wakazi ili kutimiza lengo la kilimo cha ngano.

Kimsingi nyanda hizo za malisho zilikuwa zikikaliwa ama kutumiwa na jamii za wafugaji wa Ki Datoga na Ki Iraqw. Serikali iliwaondoa kwa nguvu wakazi wa maeneo haya ili kupisha utekelezwaji wa mradi huo, kijiji kama cha Mulbadaw kiliathirika kwa sehemu kubwa na wakazi wake ambao kwa mujibu wa utafiti uliofanywa na Profesa Shivji na Dk Tenga na ripoti yake kutoka katika Jarida la Africa Events la Disemba 1985 ikiitwa Ujamaa mahakamani, kijiji hicho kilichosajiliwa kama kijiji cha Ujamaa kwa mjibu wa sheria ya Vijiji na Vijiji vya Ujamaa ya mwaka wa 1975, ni mojawapo ya vijiji katika eneo hilo vilivyoathrika na upokaji huo. Wakionyesha kupinga unyang’anyi huo wakazi wa maeneo hayo walifungua kesi kupinga dhuluma hiyo, mojawapo ya kesi maarufu ni kesi ya Mulbadaw Village council and Others V National Agricultural and Food Corporation (NAFCO) na kesi nyingine ni kesi maarufu ya Mzee Yoke Gwaku na wenzie.

Mahakama kuu kanda ya Arusha katika uamuzi wake wa awali iliwapa ushindi wakazi wa maeneo hayo na kuamuru NAFCO kuwapisha waendelee na shughuli zao za uzalishaji mali, NAFCO walikata rufaa Mahakama ya Rufaa ambayo iliamua kutengua maamuzi ya Mahakama Kuu na kuwapa ushindi NAFCO, na kilichofuata baada ya hapo ni kuondolewa kwa nguvu katika maeneo hayo chini ya usimamizi wa FFU na maboma na makazi yao yakichomwa moto. Wafugaji wa Ki Datoga (Wabarbaig) wengi waliondoka katika maeneo hayo na kuhamia maeneo mengine nchini ambayo mpaka leo bado wanasumbuliwa wakiambiwa warejee walikotoka. Bahati nzuri kwa wakazi hawa shirika la NAFCO kama yalivyokuwa mashirika mengineyo ya serikali kutokana na usimamizi mbovu yalishindwa kujiendesha na hivyo kufilisika, Wa Datoga na wakazi wengineo wa nyanda za Bassotu walichukulia hiyo kama ishara ya Mwenyezi Mungu kujibu sala zao dhidi ya dhuluma waliyokuwa wametendewa, mategemeo yao ilikuwa ni serikali kuwarejeshea rasmi maeneo yao waliyonyang’anywa bila ridhaa yao mwishoni mwa miaka ya 1970.

Kilichotokea ni kwamba zama za utandawazi zilikuwa zimeshapiga hodi na mawazo ya serikali katika awamu zilizofuatia hayakuwa tena yakilenga zaidi wananchi na hivyo wafugaji na wakulima katika maeneo haya wakajikuta wakiambiwa mashamba tumeshindwa kuyaendeleza wenyewe hivyo wawekezaji watatusaidia kuyaboresha vyema. Wanavijiji wanaozunguka mashamba hayo wakaamua kuanza harakati upya kushinikiza mashamba haya kurejeshwa kwao, serikali baada ya mvutano na mapambano marefu ikaridhia kurejesha mashamba mawili kati ya saba. Sasa hapa ndio hasa tunapaswa kuwa makini, mashamba haya baada ya kurejeshwa yalirejeshwa katika mamlaka gani? Kimsingi katika suala la usimamizi wa ardhi serikali za vijiji kwa maana ya halmashauri za vijiji ndio zenye jukumu la usimamizi na kwa ushirikiano na Mkutano mkuu wa kijiji waweza kupanga namna watakavyotumia ardhi yao. Lakini kinachoendelea ni ukiritimba ule ule wa siku zote kwa serikali kuu kupitia Mkuu wa Wilaya na mara nyingine Halmashauri kutaka kulazimisha matakwa yao yasikilizwe.

Kinachoonekana hapa ni serikali ya wilaya kutaka kushinikiza serikali za vijiji husika kufanya kile ambacho wilaya inataka, kwa upande mmoja inaonekana kiini cha tatizo ni uamuzi wa wilaya kuwahamisha wanaowaita wavamizi wa Mlima Hanang’ hawa ni wakazi waliokuwa wakiishi katika nyanda za miteremko ya Mlima Hanang’ ambayo serikali imeamua sasa ni sehemu ya hifadhi ya Mlima wa Hanang’ maeneo mbadala serikali ya wilaya iliamua kuwa ni katika haya mashamba mawili waliyorejeshewa wanavijiji wanaoyazunguka mashamba haya.

Lakini hii hasa si hoja ya msingi, kama serikali ina nia ya dhati ya kuwapatia maeneo wakazi waliohamishwa kupisha hifadhi ya Mlima wa Hanang’ suluhisho sio kuwapambanisha wao na wakazi wa vijiji vilivyorejeshewa sehemu ya maeneo yao bali ni serikali kuona sasa pana haja ya kuhawilisha shamba ama mashamba mengine na kuwapatia wakazi hawa, hii ndiyo bila shaka maslahi ya kweli ya Taifa. Kuna hoja ya kwamba viongozi wa siasa wapite kuhamasisha wanavijiji wakubaliane na hoja za wilaya, kwanini viongozi hawa wa kisiasa wasiishinikize serikali ama kuishauri serikali ihawilishe mashamba mengine zaidi na kuwakabidhi wanavijiji waliohamishwa toka mlimani ama wengineo wenye mahitaji ya ardhi katika eneo husika?

Mwisho kabisa, enzi za kutumia mabavu na nguvu nyingi zimepitwa na wakati, hizi ni zama za kukaa pamoja na kuyaongea matatizo yetu kwa uwazi, fukuto la Hanang’ ni mfano tu wa matatizo mengi katika suala zima la ardhi yanayotukabili na yatakayoendelea kutukabili kama tutakuwa hatujajipanga katika suala zima la namna tunavyotumia ardhi tuliyokuwa nayo na vipaumbele vyetu. Ni vyema sasa tukaanza kuwaona wanavijiji kama wakala wa mabadiliko na maendeleo badala ya vikwazo ama vizingiti, wakiwezeshwa nao wanaweza kufanya mabadiliko, wakulima na wafugaji ndio wanaoubeba msitakabali wa taifa letu kwasasa, kama tunashindwa kuwapa fursa na nafasi inavyositahili tusishangae kesho tukasikia katika maeneo mengine pia wameingia msituni, kwani ilianza na Arumeru, kisha Hanang’ kesho sijui itakuwa wapi lakini tunafahamu yapo maeneo mengi ambayo kero za kweli za ardhi za wananchi zinafunikwafunikwa na watawala katika ngazi hizo.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Experiencing Land Reforms in Tanzania

From the outset let me categorically state that I am not trying to give an academically grounded analysis of land reforms in Tanzania nor would I dare challenge any existing analysis of the land tenure reforms. I am rather giving my personal experience of the reforms, particularly on the implementation of the Land Act no 4 of 1999 and Village Land Act No 5 of 1999. To fast track the implementation of the LA and VLA the Ministry of Lands and Human Settlement Development (MLHD) has gone as as far as to devise a strategic plan.

The Strategic Plan for Implementing Land Laws(SPILL) is tasked to survey, issue certificates of title to villages and urban land and setting up local registries for land documents. With all these efforts and associated reforms, particularly the Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP) and the Legal Sector Reform Programme (LSRP), where are we now? What is the status of the reforms and what are the practical evidence on the ground?

My observation is basically based on my practical engagement with villages in various districts where Land Rights Research and Resources Institute (LARRRI), popularly known as HAKIARDHI, through the Programme on Land rights and Village Governance is working with Local Government Authorities (LGAs) through sharing experiences on land tenure system and raising awareness on the relatively new laws and their implications to small producers as well as through charting what best can be done to secure the security of tenure of small producers such as peasants and pastoralists. My engagement with village leaders and ordinary villagers therefore forms the basis of my analysis of the status of the implementation of these laws of which, by 2009, a decade would have elapsed since they were enacted. Connected to the implementation of the said Acts is the whole question of investment in village lands and the massive influx of investors, both foreign and local, to the village areas.

My first observation is that many villages still continue to be recognized legally through the Local government Act (District Authorities) of 1982 as ammended in 1999. In order to be recognized in the new land regime, they must undergo surveys and demarcation and hence issued with a Village Land Certificate (VLC). Since the whole process involves adjudication, many villages have not yet been issued with VLC. In many areas when looking at the level of implementation of the VLA one will find out that Districts have managed to give circulars only to guide villages in establishment of Village land Councils. Many link security of tenure with CCROs and the pseudo beliefs that once issued with a CCRO villagers will be able to access bank loans, the concern of the villagers is therefore one the guarantee of security of tenure and second other benefits that might be associated with having a CCRO.

Members of the Village Land Councils are not trained hence not aware of their duties and as a result make decisions against the law. The primary purpose of establishment of these council is mediation, that before the dispute escalates at least those involved settle their differences basing on the customs and traditions of the given place. But since they do not have any training they tend to operate just like any other court of justice including punishing the aggrieved person by fines etc.

Another significant feature is undue interference of village authorities by District level and National or central government authorities. This is manifested in a way investment is guided. In the two districts their is scramble for land as both local and foreign investors frequents the villages with introductory letters from central and local government asking village authorities to assist investors with land for investments.

Since the villagers are not aware of the various provisions in the Village land Act and the Land Act and how land transactions is done find themselves alienated from their land once they grant concessions. The status of the land changes from village land to general land under the Commissioner for lands. But few villagers are aware of this anomally, many villagers as a matter of fact authorize transfer from village to general land blindly. It is clearly stated in the village land Act that the village assembly can allocate up to 50 acres, above that they can only recommend their willingness to other organs responsible with land administration such as the district council and the ministry responsible through the overall incharge of land administration the Commissioner for Lands.

In a final analysis the reforms has succeded in exposing to the large extent the villages or rural areas to market forces, now it is a matter of making another analysis to find out whether this has been for better or for worse, but experience shows and case studies from districts near by major towns and even in peri urban areas shows negative impact as far as villagers are concerned, the other aspect that the reforms sort to address was the question of hoarding and land speculation, how far has this succeeded?

What we are observing now is the increasing trend in land hoarding, in some cases villagers are now demanding their land back after realizing that the so called investors are not real investors as they have not developed their land unfortunately for villagers is that once they realize this it is too late for them as other processes especially of transfer are at high levels of decision making. This is another room for future conflicts between villagers and investors especially when villagers are aware of the procedures guiding land issues in Tanzania especially when they master the basics in the Village Land Act.

Last but not least is a crisis of governance at ward level, this is in regard of the ward tribunal, the confusion here is to whom and where is the ward tribunal accountable. It is a land tribunal under the DED, it falls under the primary court for non land cases, appeals of land cases are send to District Land and Housing tribunal. In some areas the question that came out was on who is responsible for financing the tribunal? It is clear that the Assistant registrar of villages who happened to be the District Executive Director is responsible for the budgets and financial implication of the ward tribunals and Village land tribunals but in as far as support to these organs is concerned we still have a long way to go.

The dysfunctional organs of government, if we are to reap the benefits of reforms have to be revamped, the site of development must be the village, much as we want to get rid of peasants and nomad pastoralists development from above will never help in transformation of our societies and eradication of poverty, if the system of administration of land works in favor of the small producers chances are that they will transform not necessarily revolutionary but rather gradually and in a way a more prosperous and poverty free Tanzania will be realized, much as we need foreign investment this should not be at the expense of small producers, peasants unlike what many critics argue are also responsive to the market, diversification will always happen in as far as they reap surplus from their harvests and sell them to the available markets.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What about a stimulus package for the education crisis?

Denial is a psychological strategy that humans use to deal with crises. It works up to a point. There comes a time when it utterly fails as a defensive mechanism. Then an implosion occurs.

The recently announced Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) results give a glimpse of the ongoing implosion in the education sector. More than 50 percent of the students who sat for PSLE this year failed. This, we are told, is a decline by 3.32 percent from last years’ results.

According to the Minister responsible for Education, this decline is due to mass failures in Mathematics and English. Nearly 21 percent of the students passed the former. Slightly over 35 percent passed the latter. Ironically, 69 percent passed Kiswahili, this being the highest pass rate.

What is surprising is that despite this steady decline in the past two years or so we haven’t publicly announced that there is an education crisis. Gone are the days when our educators could publicly assemble and boldly tell us to our face to stop denying that there is no education crisis.

Those were the days prior to the Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP). “In early July 1999”, they reminisced, “a firm decision was made by the University of Dar es Salaam Convocation Executive Committee to organize, in early October 1999, a Symposium on The Multi-dimensional Crisis of Education in Tanzania.” It was well attended. Policymakers were there. So were Professors of Education. It received wide coverage and stirred a public debate.

At that time it was stark clear that there was a national crisis. Tanzania was reaping the fruits of the crisis after sowing Structural Adjustment Programmes’ (SAPs) seeds that sapped us of our resources to meet the costs of basic social services. SAPs had introduced cost-sharing after structuring the state to cut down its budget for those services which include health and education.

Commenting on this restructuring one year earlier, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere had this to say: “At the World Bank the first question they asked me was `how did you fail?' I responded that we took over a country with 85 per cent of its adult population illiterate. The British ruled us for 43 years. When they left, there were 2 trained engineers and 12 doctors. This is the country we inherited. When I stepped down there was 91-per-cent literacy and nearly every child was in school. We trained thousands of engineers and doctors and teachers. In 1988 Tanzania's per-capita income was $280. Now, in 1998, it is $140.”

Mwalimu – the teacher – further commented: “So I asked the World Bank people what went wrong. Because for the last ten years Tanzania has been signing on the dotted line and doing everything the IMF and the World Bank wanted. Enrolment in school has plummeted to 63 per cent and conditions in health and other social services have deteriorated. I asked them again: `what went wrong?' These people just sat there looking at me. Then they asked what could they do? I told them have some humility. Humility - they are so arrogant!”

Times have indeed changed. In a way the relatively successful implementation of PEDP made us lower our crisis alarms. Of course we had the likes of HakiElimu that had to pay the ‘interdiction’ penalty for publicly questioning PEDP’s unsuccessful provision of quality education. But in general we have not been as alarmed as we ought to be or as we were in the wake of the global financial crisis. What is happening in education demand(ed) such a response.

So here we are with more than half of those who sat for PSLE being condemned to failure because of our denial. Yet we are busy reviewing the Education and Training Policy of 1995 with the aim of introducing, as a medium of instruction, a language that pupils failed miserably.

We even forget that there was a time PSLE rates increased dramatically simply because we added more weight on a language that is more familiar to most of our children. ‘Primary School Leaving Examinations: A Study on the Increase in Pass Rate’ that was conducted by Tanzania Education Network (Ten/Met) and HakiElimu in 2008 reveals that. It is based on PSLE data.

Its following finding on one of the two reasons for the increase in 2004 is quite revealing: “One, making English and Kiswahili into two papers increased the weighting of these papers from 33.3 percent to 50.0 percent and decreased the weighting of the other two papers from 33.3 percent to 25.0 percent.” This simply means that more students passed because of Kiswahili. It is their home language, the one they practically use to interact with their environment on a daily basis.

The following finding from this study is more telling: “In 2006, 70.7 percent of the children passed PSLE, meaning that these children were competent to enroll in and benefit from secondary education. Yet only 48.0 percent of the children passed the English paper. This means that at least 22.7 percent of the children are eligible to enroll in secondary schools even though they failed English, the language of instruction in secondary education.” What a ‘false start’!

My preliminary analysis of the PSLE results for 2009 reveals that this is the same story, albeit more bleak. It reminds me of students in one of the secondary schools we recently visited. They point blank said, albeit in Kiswahili, ‘the English language is difficult therefore teachers should mix it with the national language.’ What a plea for accessing knowledge in understandable ways!

The education system is already in a crisis. Continuing with a confused language policy will change the crisis from an implosion to an explosion. We better come up with a stimulus package even if that entails ‘importing’ teachers who can teach English properly as a second language.

Thanks to the government the Ministry responsible for Education has acknowledged that not all of the funds allocated to schools reach them. Its 2009 Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) has revealed that only 87 percent of the budget was received by Local Government Authorities (LGAs) responsible for primary schools. What reached the schools could be less.

This is a proof that we need to stimulate our education system. It needs more funds. And PETS.

© Chambi Chachage - The Citizen (15 December 2009)

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