Tanzania Court Rules on Maasai Eviction Case

The East African Court of Justice is set to rule on a legal challenge to the eviction of the Maasai

Tanzania Maasai eviction case

A Tanzania court will issue a ruling today on a on a legal challenge to the eviction of the Maasai from their land in Loliondo. Photo: Mongabay

The East African Court of Justice is set to rule on a legal challenge to the eviction of the Maasai from their land in Loliondo.

The ruling comes amid recent clashes between Maasai herders and security forces in Ngorongoro District. On 6 June, one police officer was killed and 30 Maasai were injured when a dispute broke out following government surveyors demarcating 1,500 square kilometers of Maasai land to turnover into a game reserve in the north of the country.

For years, the Maasai have fought to remain on their ancestral homelands; in 2017, more than 180 homes were burned down by authorities to evacuate people from the area. In 2018, the regional court issued an injunction against eviction.

The East African Court of Justice is likely to rule in favor of evictions. This could displace up to 70,000 people, forcing them to leave their ancestral lands and relocate to other parts of the country. The ruling is driven by economic motivation. Tourism, which will increase with a new game reserve, is the second largest contributor to Tanzania’s GDP and the third largest contributor to employment. This may bring increased violence and public outrage as thousands of Maasai are relocated.

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