Simanjiro — A TWO-DECADE border dispute pitting Tarangire National Park and residents of Kimotorok Village has finally been put to rest following an annexation of part of the protected area.
The 17.7 square kilometre land, which serves as wildlife corridor between Mkungunero Game Reserve and Tarangire National Park has been allocated to the villagers as part of Tanzania National Park’s (TANAPA) efforts of striking the right balance between people’s livelihoods and conservation.
Speaking while overseeing the demarcation of the annexed land here on Thursday, Principal Game Officer from the Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources, Pellage Francis Kauzeni said the exercise follows a cabinet decision reached on September 23, 2019.
According to Mr Kauzeni, the multi-faceted cabinet traversed the country with a view of identifying areas that were embroiled in disputes with neighbouring communities.
“Kimotorok is just part of the 975 villages that were visited by the cabinet members, and it was agreed that part of the park should be given to the villagers,” the Principal Game Officer explained.
Such a decision was also nodded by President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, according to Mr Kauzeni, adding that installation of 30 beacons which span 10 kilometres will clearly demarcate the protected area and the annexed land.
“The village is definitely going to benefit from such an undertaking, and it is so rewarding to see the villagers cooperating with the government in ensuring that the exercise runs smoothly,” he said.
Before erecting the beacons in the area, residents of Kimotorok village used to encroach part of Tarangire National Park for grazing purposes.
This even saw the villagers cultivate Sesame seeds in part of the 2,850 square kilometer park.
Kimotorok Village lies in southern Simanjiro District adjacent to Kondoa and Kiteto districts.
The village is also bordering Tarangire National Park to its West as well as the Mkungunero Game Reserve to the West and Southwest.
It was formerly part of the Loibor Siret Village, Kiteto, then Simanjiro, District. A land-induced conflict has been going on in this village of the Maasai for decades.
For her part, Assistant Conservation Commissioner in charge of Tarangire National Park Beatrice Kessy described the installation of the concrete beacons as a timely intervention by the government, while Manyara regional forest officer Michael Emmanuel Gwandu urged villagers to desist from encroaching protected areas.