FROM small-scale scuffles between neighbours over field boundaries, to large-scale clashes over which village can farm or exploit certain plots, land conflicts have often been bloody and result in loss of life.
Looked at broadly, land conflicts commonly become violent when linked to politics, which instead of addressing pastoralists’ grazing cattle in farmers’ farms, no proper demarcation of land use plan, increased human and livestock population scored and insecurity of land tenure, everyone takes the law into own-hands with emotions.
Without mincing the sixth phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan has done a lot to address land conflicts in the country, which used to be alarming and subsequently threatening both the socio-economic status of the local people and the political stability of areas in question.
For instance, during her reign, the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development in the National Assembly recently assured Members of Parliament of surveying the entire land in the country and encourage its proper use, so as to make land disputes a thing of the past.
Winding up the debate for the budget estimates of her docket, Minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development Angelina Mabula said her office will embark on a massive land mapping programme in the next financial year to address the growing land conflicts, adding that: “The ministry is well organised to end land disputes and prevent the occurrence of new ones by speeding up the surveying process.”
This was necessary after findings showed that village land councils had a minimal role in mitigating land conflicts due to the low literacy level of their members, a lack of VLC capacity building, a lack of chain of command in the conflict mediation and resolution process, biased decisions, ethnism, and corruption among others.
As a result this led to communities banking on public courts of law to resolve land conflicts, contrary to the directives of the Village Land Act of 1999.
It should be realized that the land survey and mapping will further address the shortcomings of the Village Land Act, village land councils that were designed to conduct reconciliation meetings and be village courts for reconciliation at the village level have failed to achieve the set objectives.
As peace loving citizens, we should wholly support the government to go-ahead with the plan, which will totally eliminate land conflicts, because we all know the effects of fighting.
We must remember that in fighting for land peace will decline in the village, children will not go to school, food production will decrease and deaths and injuries will be the order of the day Tanzanians are not ready for.