Arusha — No community deserves to hold exclusive rights to claim ownership of certain areas of the land, the government has said.
A Tanzanian delegation told a 22nd session of the United Nations (UN) Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) that ended in New York that Tanzania didn’t have a specific indigenous community and that any Tanzanian was free to inhabit at any part of the country.
Delivering the country stance on behalf of the UNESCO National Commission Executive Secretary, Professor Hamisi Malebo, Tanzania Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Ms Zuleikha Tambwe, insisted that the country was a home to more than 120 tribes which have been scattered in different parts of the country.
“All the inhabitants consist of communities that migrated from groups of Cushites and Khoisan, with the Bantu being the first people to have entered Tanzania more than 3,000 years ago,” she said.
According to Ms Tambwe, the Nilotic communities, which also comprise of the Maasai would later stream into the country in the 18th century.
Her assertion comes in the wake of group of people claiming to be hailing from the Maasai communities who have since claimed exclusive rights to Loliondo and Ngorongoro area, thus compromising the ongoing relocation exercise from Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).
“We are concerned about reports of some people purporting to be Maasais who have gone ahead to claim exclusive right of the country,” she told the high-level meeting.
Such claims are hell bent on deliberately compromising national unity, according to MsTambwe .
In the same vein, Tanzania’s delegation in the high-level meeting expressed its concern on how the UN meeting was turning into a jibe session aimed towards Tanzania, as far as the relocation of pastoralist communities from the NCA was concerned.
The delegation reiterated that the government treated all communities and tribes equally and no one had exclusive rights to the country.
On his part, Prof Malebo reminded the UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on Tanzania’s deliberate efforts of addressing the plight of the pastoral communities.
Prof Malebo further extended a cordial invitation to the UN official to get a glimpse of the relocation exercise and how Tanzanians were harmoniously coexisting, despite the diverse cultures and traditions.