1,666 families vacate airport land

KILIMANJARO: A TOTAL of 1,666 households have voluntarily vacated the Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) area after the government paid them 11bn/- as consolation, the Chief Government’s Spokesperson, Mr Mobhare Matinyi has said.

He told reporters yesterday that the relocated families are out of 1,712 households that were required to relocate to pave the way for smooth operations of the airport.

The consolation money was for their assets developed on the airport land including the costs of buildings, permanent crops, housing, transport and disturbance allowances. Mr Matinyi said that until Tuesday this week, only 46 households were not yet paid due to various reasons, including unmatching names in payment statements, bank statements and inheritance cases.

“Until April 30, 2024, a total of 1,666 out of 1,712 citizens have received payment amounting to 11.2bn/- The citizens have relocated voluntarily,” Mr Matinyi said.

He said that to ensure the safe operation of airport activities and meet national and international standards, President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan directed the government to allocate funds to pay the citizens over the developments they made on the land that legally belongs to the government.

A total of 1,712 households were assessed for payment where 1,061 households in four villages of Hai district and 651 households in three villagers of Arumeru district.

Mr Matinyi added that all the citizens who were paid have moved to the neighbouring villages or other areas of their villages, adding that the local governments in neighbouring villages and the KIA sold to each of them new areas measuring 25 square metres for 80,000 /-.

“No citizens are left without a place to live. The citizens have already built new houses to live in and life continues because some of them started building even before they were paid by the government.” he said.

However, he said in November 2023, the government through Arusha and Kilimanjaro regional authorities provided official information to 1,712 households through meetings and public announcements about the payment steps and later issued a notice asking them to leave voluntarily as soon as they receive payment.

Similarly, Mr Matinyi said that to eliminate human activities within the KIA area, and to increase protection and security of Airport and its infrastructure and increase efficiency in the operation, the government is constructing a road surrounding the entire airport area for strengthening defense and security.

“The government has also placed large permanent signs that are easily visible around the area to protect the borders,” he said.

On the other hand, Mr Matinyi said assured that the government will continue to protect and manage the fundamental human rights and good governance in the implementation of various development activities.

He said the government recognizes the contribution of farmers and livestock keepers in the country’s economy as well as their participation in protecting and maintaining the airport which is an important gateway for tourists coming to the country.

He also urged the citizens surrounding all airports in the country to participate fully in maintaining and protecting the lands of airports so that they continue to provide services at national and international standards.

“The human activities that involve agriculture and grazing within the areas have been affecting airport operations especially during the summer period when tornado causes poor vision for the pilots to the extent that the plane fails to land and therefore has to make an emergency landing in the neighboring airports, “ he noted.

He said other human activities includes the destruction of natural vegetation by cutting trees, leaves and feeding livestock and also causing the government to fail to implement the plan of the Airport.

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