Tanzania: The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Tanzania, is planning to survey the country’s borders. The move follows information that there were relocations of beacons on the borders with some neighbouring countries. The ministry’s permanent secretary, Patrick Rutabanzibwa, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the government was aware of the problem and was working hard to solve it.
He said that the problem was more pronounced in the southern parts where Tanzania borders Mozambique, along Lake Nyasa on the border with Malawi, in Mbeya where Tanzania borders Zambia and some northern parts along the border with Kenya.
Further, he added that the government was trying to mobilise funds to finance the survey of all border areas that have been reported to have such problems. The exercise has already started on the border between Tanzania and Mozambique, he said.
“This exercise has already started at the border between our country and Mozambique. We have established that some beacons have been displaced and as a result some areas of Tanzania are deemed to be in other countries,” said Mr Rutabanzibwa. Dr Selasini Mayunga, Director of Survey and Lands, told the committee that some beacons at border points had been removed by unknown people.
However, Ponsiano Nyami, the Nkasi MP, told the committee that he had learnt from reliable sources that on the northern part of Tanzania a strip of about one kilometre at the border has been relocated to a neighbouring country. But Dr Mayunga said the ministry has already started the surveying of land at various border areas and some have already been recovered.
The ministry’s senior surveyor told the committee that the exercise had also started at the border between Tanzania and Kenya, and only 325 kilometres had not yet been surveyed. He said that the government has already discussed the Tunduma border conflicts with Zambia with a view of conducting a fresh survey of the area.
According to Dr Mayunga, the Lake Nyasa issue was being discussed by leaders of the three countries. However, the ministry’s permanent secretary said it was facing a problem of shortage of funds. Rutabanzibwa also reiterated, “We have a good plan to survey our borders to ensure Tanzania’s land is intact according to the map. But the problem we are facing is shortage of funds to carry out this project.”
Commenting on the increase in land cases and conflicts in the country, Rutabanzibwa told the committee that most workers in his ministry were violating land laws that guide surveying, allocation and relocation of land for various uses. He was against the recent High Court (Land Division) advice for the government to amend land laws because they were contradictory to wananchi and land officers themselves.
However, the chairman of the committee, who is the Bariadi MP, John Cheyo, said that some land laws were not serving the people. The law wants every person to build a house 60 metres from the beach, but in Tanzania this law has been violated by many people, including investors who construct tourist hotels close to the Indian Ocean.
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