Basketry and mat weaving has proved a rewarding entrepreneurship among Umoja group established in 2014. During its establishment, none of the group members had a clear idea about the issue of land right. There was little knowledge on the subject as far as conflict resolution was concerned. Perhaps the knowledge about land right issue was not so important to them at that moment.
In 2014, when JET started to implement AYP project in Rufiji, Umoja group was one of the groups taken on board in the implementation of the project. Considering its background, JET had to put in several initiatives in order to empower Umoja group to learn about land issues.
JET had to train Umoja group members in addition to other five groups on Land Act, the underlying principles, conflict resolution institutions and advocacy on land issues so as play a central character on enlightening other community members on issues related to land rights.
Despite the fact that training and discussion on land rights issues the transformation and behaviour change took place in sluggish pace. JET monitoring officer had to visit groups several times discussing how best to conduct advocacy on land issues at grassroots level.
Early on 2016 Mr. Omary Malimwengu entered into land conflict with Swari Ulungu. Mr. Omary being devastated in fear of losing his piece of land, he came to remember that he once heard someone talking about groups which help people in resolving land rights issues. He took the initiative to go and meet leaders of Umoja group (Ms. Neema Edson). Early January 2016 Umoja group and Mr. Omary Malimwengu reported the case to the village government and the land village committee. Several meetings were held to discuss and try to resolve the conflict between Mr Omary Malimwengu and Mr Swari Ulungu
Mid January Umoja group, the village land committee and the village government after thorough review evidences and farm documents from the belligerent party, were satisfied with Mr Omary Malimwengu document and ruled that Mr Omary Malimwengu was the rightful owner of the land as stated in the document received from the village government in 2000. The documents in possession of Mr Swari Ulungu indicated that the farm was occupied since 2008 and the genuineness of the document could not easily be established as seller of the land was not known to the village whatsoever.
Speaking to JET Monitoring officer Mr Omary Malimwengu said “I real appreciate the advice I got from the group, I knew there is village government but unaware of the basic procedures and the person to share my concern with. Obviously I had no courage to handle the case, but these women gave me the courage to fight for my land right,”
Mr Omary Malimwengu believes that empowerment accomplished by the group is crucial even to the local community members who are not organised in groups. Till now Umoja group cerebrate the success and becomes more popular in the community.
RUFIJI DISTRICT FORMS COMMITTEE OF TEN PEOPLE TO RESOLVE CONFLICT BETWEEN FARMERS AND PASTORALIST.
Land administration in Tanzania mainly follows the Land Act and Village Land Act of 1999 instruction. According to laws village land act of 999, the mandate to resolve conflict at village level lay on the hand of village land committee composed by seven members of which 3 must be women. Despite the long existence of the laws for almost 15 year, conflict has been mushrooming day after day!
Rufiji is one of the districts largely affected by land conflicts as found by JET during initiation of Ardhi Yetu Agenda Yetu Project early 2014. AYP being self centred to land issues by holding the duty barriers accountable stressed it efforts to district council as one of the strategic boundary partners to influence for change. Among other ways employed by JET to influence change at the districts council included frequent publication of stories and articles to address land conflicts.
The publications were done in JET news paper Kasuku, articles and stories in national media. Media work highlighted the weakness in land governing body and conflict resolution system at village level, mushrooming of the conflicts, killings and the all the suffering that Rufiji people had to put up with.
One of the articles which directly stressed on the weakness of district council in land governance was published on December 4/2014 in Habari Leo news paper by Ikunda Erick. In spite of the media work, several visits were made to the district director and land offers to discuss land issues especially, conflicts and resources allocation for land use plans.
On February 2016 Rufiji District Commissioner in collaboration with Coast Regional Commissioner established what had been known as bilateral committees to resolve land conflicts and ordered to be formed in various villages.
These committees are formed on bases of social point of view and not as per land act and are made up of five farmers and five pastoralists to resolve land conflict between farmers and pastoralist. Also these groups have been established to help strengthen the relationship between farmers and pastoralist community as a means to reduce the tension between the groups.
Speaking to JET monitoring officer, Mr.Athumani Abdulmani, Nyamwage village executive officer says” the committee has brought a number of change in the villages, one improved relationship among the groups, second resolve conflicts between farmers and pastoralists. Example, between January to May only 10 conflicts have been reported to village government for resolution; this is totally different from the previous experience whereby an average of 60 disputes were reported per month.
This intervention tells the duty barriers that, community are egger to change to live in harmony in the community. For example, Rufiji District Commissioner, Mr. Nurdin H. Babu says, “I am wondering the way the community has shown enthusiasm toward peaceful resolve of disputes,” Future plan are underway to educate and help groups to have a wider understanding on land rights issues.
YOUTH GROUP CHAMPIONS IN RESOLVING LAND BASED CONFLICT
Twendepamoja Mandawa CBO is a group made up of youth members, established to solve youth economic challenges. From 2010 to 2013 the group was not in any way involved in land issues despite being engaged in a number of activities on land such as farming.
Even at village level, most of villagers were not conversant with land rights issues. This happened not because peace prevailed at the village but simply because they just didn’t have knowledge on land issues and the right way to secure land.
In 2014 to 2015 JET conducted several training sessions to CBOs and some community members on land conflicts resolution and advocacy on land issues one of CBO being Twende Pamoja Mandawa group. This was eye opening training whereby CBOs realised their important role in resolving land conflicts and making follow-up on proper land use.
One of the success stories to cerebrate in 2016 is the ability and techniques used to solve conflict between Mr. Lukumbi and Mr.Nyonde in Mandawa village .Both of the families had launched claim on an open piece of land between their houses, each claiming to be the rightful owner of the plot.
“It was not a violent conflict but it soured the relationship between the two families. We had to intervene because if it was left to grow, it would have had spill effect to the village; the two families would have drawn the attention of sympathizers,” explained Mr. Amadi Mkutu the group secretary.
After consultations with both conflicting parties and prominent members of the village, the group set up a boundary that was accepted by both parties. After resolving the conflict the good relationship between the families was also restored and the situation returned to normal.
“It is real blessing to our group, we are now recognized in the village and our contribution is obvious to everyone” Says, Somoe A. Minginika who is a group chairperson. Mandawa group cerebrate its success and the members are planning to hold meetings at ward level to share with the community the issue of land rights such as women land rights, land conflict resolution process and land use planning.