A RECORD 61 households from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) relocated to Msomera village on Thursday, as the ongoing voluntary exodus to Handeni District continues to gather pace.
The households, with 310 people, were accompanied by their 2,213 livestock, a highest recorded number since the exercise started mid this year.
Briefing the area District Commissioner before seeing off the residents, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) Deputy Conservation Commissioner Christopher Timbuka attributed the sheer number of residents, who have willingly expressed their intention to move to Msomera village in Tanga Region, to the high-level awareness among Ngorongoro residents.
“The urge of moving to Msomera is at a record high, it is gratifying to see many households registering by the day,” explained Dr Timbuka.
According to the Conservation Commissioner, a total of 1,488 residents and 7,491 have voluntarily moved to Msomera as of October 4, this year.
Another 8,655 and 32,701 have registered for the exodus.
“SUMA JKT has gotten down to business, building more settlements as it strives to keep pace with the sheer number of newcomers,” he disclosed.
One of the residents who have volunteered to move to Msomera village, Bishop Jackson Kipuyo Lukumay couldn’t hide his excitement as he boarded one of the seven buses that ferried the residents to Tanga, yesterday morning.
“I was among the many naysayers who doubted the government’s plan of relocating us to Msomera, but my mind changed upon visiting the area,” said the religious leader from the Free Pentecostal Church of Tanzania (FPCT).
Bishop Lukumay said he was willing to relocate with an orphanage which he had established at NCA, as he continues his mission in Tanga.
He further revealed his plan of setting up a 40-acre carrot farm in Msomera, something he was restricted to do while living inside the NCA.
On his part, Paulo Naisaruni from Olbalbal village who is also part of the 12th batch that left for Msomera had nothing but praise to the government for conducting dignified relocation which commended the government for conducting a dignified relocation exercise.
“It is rewarding to see health personnel tagging along on our way to Msomera,” he added.
By 1959, the population of the NCAA was said to have been around 8,000.
Today, the number of residents in the area is projected to have hit 110,000, adding pressure on conservation activities in the Mixed Wild Heritage site.
The sheer increase in the number of residents has seen livestock competing for grass with wild animals, mushrooming of human settlements that has in turn scared away wild animals and the escalation of Human Wildlife Conflicts (HWCs).