Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – 10th August 2013 – The proposed land survey plan involving 30,000 plots in Kisarawe district, Coast region, has hit a snug after residents rejected it, saying it was another form of land grabbing, The Guardian has learnt.
The rejected plan, among other things, forces residents to surrender 40 percent of their total land as the cost of surveying the land.
Kisarawe district council officials say that since many land owners in the area have no cash to finance the surveying exercise, the authority introduced a plan to take 40 percent of the land to compensate for what they describe as ‘surveying cost’.
It cost between three and four shillings to conduct survey on a single acre according to details from the Kisarawe District Council.
The 40 percent land taken as compensation of surveying cost would have been distributed as follows: eight percent would have gone to the surveying firm, five percent for infrastructure development, 12 percent to the district council while the remaining 15 per cent go down as surveying cost.
The Kisarawe district council targeted to survey plots in all farms found in Kiluvya A, B and Mloganzila wards for the major objective of avoiding development of squatters.
The Guardian established that in the areas earmarked for the project several current and former political and government heavyweights including former premier Fredric Sumaye owned huge chunks of non-surveyed lands.
According our findings, Kiluvya B and Mloganzila residents accepted the project but those from Kiluvya A Ward — which is home to former premier — rejected it, saying they weren’t involved in the entire plan.
Former premier Sumaye spoke to The Guardian last week at Kiluvya A, blaming Kisarawe district authorities for their failure to involve them from the initial stages of the project.
Under this project, residents whose lands are to be surveyed would be required to surrender 40 percent of their tracts to the district council as compensation for the surveying cost that they would have incurred in the exercise.
For instance, if a piece of land yielded ten surveyed plots, then the owner of the land would remain with six plots, leaving four to the district authorities to compensate the surveying costs.
“Owners of land in this village, including myself of course, are not opposing the project. Our concern is that this project did not involve us from the beginning … leave alone the 40 per cent stake that is also too big for us to give away to the district authorities, “ said Sumaye.
Mid last month a special assembly was conveyed at Kiluvya village in Kiluvya ‘A’ Ward top discuss about the project but Sumaye left before it ended, prompting other residents who had also turned up for the meeting to leave.
When The Guardian asked about his decision to leave the meeting before it ended, he simply replied: “I had a commitment to attend another meeting somewhere”.
Kiluvya ‘A’ resident identified as Elifasi Mlinga also spoke to this newspaper, branding the project as ill-conceived for the objectives of grabbing people’s land.
He said a few months before news about the project broke landowners in the ward filled forms, asking Kisarawe district council authorities to survey their lands, but they received no response until they heard that the council had come up with the new land survey arrangement.
Mlinga said he has now been served with a notice from the ward office ordering him not to make any further developments in his land, including construction of his own house until the survey is done.
Alfred Nyange, also a resident from Kiluvya ‘A’ said he was not ready to surrender his land to the authorities for surveying.
“Why didn’t they come to survey these areas when they were still bushes? Why come today when we have spent energy, time and money clearing them,? he queried.
He also defended his colleagues for not leaving the meeting before it ended on the material day last month because they were not satisfied with the agenda, saying over 300 people attended the meeting.
Kiluvya ‘A’ Village Chairperson Adelina Bruno refused to talk to this newspaper, asking the reporter to speak to the villagers about the project.
But Kiluvya B’ resident Sharifa Ibrahim told the Guardian that people at Kiluvya ‘B’ and Mloganzila wards supported the project simply because Kisarawe district authorities sensitised them, saying it was beneficial to them.
Chairman of Kisarawe District council Adam Ng’imba offered an interview to The Guardian in which he said the project was conceived last year for the major objective of avoiding the sprawling of squatters.
According to Ng’imba, the implementation of the project is supposed to start next month by surveying a total of 15,000 plots in the first phase, followed by 10,000 plots in the second phase before finalising the project with 5,000 plots in the last phase.
He gave the breakdown of the 40 per cent stake that land owners would be required to give away to the district council, saying: “ in actual sense not all 40 per cent of land would be taken by the council,”
“ We have planned that out of this 40 per cent, eight will go to the surveying firm, five for infrastructure development , 12 per cent to the district council while the remaining 15 per cent is compensating the surveying cost,” he explained.
The chairman stressed that there is no money compensation in the entire project hence they will have land compensation.
He cited an example “if the certain village is surveyed and the area found that it supposed to be an open space therefore the owners of that land will be compensated another area and not money.”
The Chairman explain that the value of land is found in title deed, therefore by doing that it helps to formalize land to its community as well as adding value to it.
Elaborated that the lands taken by urgent and council at the end will be used to compensate the community who’s the map will show that their land is taken by graves or other social service.
Ngimba added that they decide to opt for land compensation method instead of money after found that it’s very expensive to measure the area of which most of the villagers could not afford it.
The municipal said they have decided to propose that method of land compensation due to the study that took place in various regions including Mbeya, Arusha and Mwanza , we also look for bank loan we found among all method this system is more safe and do not harm the villagers.
Surveying land is very expensive; it cost sh. 3 -4milion per acres, therefore if the community were told to contribute not all who can afford.
Land surveying require a lot of resources like human resource, finance and technology, therefore it needs a lot of money up to the accomplishment of the exercise.
He elaborated that the government is always located a little money in its budget for survey which is not enough.
He stressed that; because the project is not a business but they want to help community therefore the final decision will remain to the community.
The Kisarawe project which is expected to start early of September and end on December 30 is said to use Aerial photograph which is most expensive technology since it is modern one.
According to Chairman Prior to the project the district has advertised tender for the qualified company who can meet the standard of implementing the exercise, among the six company competing for, the Ward Map Company win the tender.
The project has pass through councilors meeting of which the final decision was blessed with the mayor’s councils.
The Chairman added that after
council blessing they formed various team works for the purpose of educating the entire community about the project.
We want the project to be owned by the community because every ward has its own needs compared to the other the reason that we call for the village meeting to get their views.
Meanwhile the district noted that the Kiluvya “A” residents resist the project due to the fact that they did not understand the project since they did not have an opportunity to listen them.
He called up on the kiluvya “A” people to attend and listen the meeting called by the district where will be informed more about the project and asking their question rather than keep on resisting without having any knowledge concerning the project.
The urban planning project committee is formed by 11 members under the chairmanship of district chairman Adam Ng’imba, the Secretary is KIsarawe Director, and other members were MP’s and councilors.
Under the project there is also investigative team which is formed by PCCB officials, Office Commander of Defense (OCD).
Meanwhile, The Guardian has since visited the project area at Kiluvya, and met some villagers who still reject take-over of their lands.
Source: IPP Media and The Guardian