PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has approved 67 villages within reserved areas in Morogoro Region to continue existing to enable their residents continue with their activities.
The move by the Head of State is one of the efforts by the sixth phase government to find lasting solutions for land conflicts in 975 villages and streets across the country.
A sectoral ministerial committee led by the Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Dr Angelina Mabula, made the announcement on the decision by President Samia during its recent visit to the areas affected by land conflicts.
The cabinet has put forward various recommendations of addressing land conflicts including retention of 366 villages and hamlets within reserved areas, identifying reserve areas, which no longer qualify to be classified as reserves areas so that they can be distributed to villagers.
Other recommendations include verification and readjustment of borders between forests, reserved areas for wild animals and human settlements.
Also on the list was portioning out pieces of reserved land for distribution to livestock keepers and farmers, revision of legislations covering land as well as laws on water sources and revoking title deeds of undeveloped farms.
Speaking to government leaders and employees in Morogoro region, Dr Mabula said there are 81 villages facing land conflicts in the region out of 975 villages countywide.
“In order to find a lasting solution to land conflicts in this region, 67 villages will continue to exist in their areas, while 14 villages and streets will be assessed on whether they will be relocated or not,” she declared.
Dr Mabula mentioned some of the area with land conflicts as Kilombero River Basin, which include a forest reserve which is an important water catchment area which contributes water to River Rufiji along which the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project is located.
According to the minister, even with the decision by the government all public institutions ought to protect their land against trespassers.
Dr Mabula further directed public officials to closely supervise directives issued by the government since the failure to implement the directives has been fuelling land conflicts in their areas.
The minister on the other hand warned residents against grabbing land in plantations, whose title deeds have been revoked and urged local councils to ensure that such areas were well planned before any activity could take place.
“In cases where the government has revoked title deeds, the farms in question should be taken by the council which will be responsible for planning their land use,” she directed.
At the same occasion, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ms Mary Masanja, hailed regional and district commissioners for supervising reserved areas, noting, however that there was still a challenge of managing those areas.