IPP Media - The Guardian
Prof Tibaijuka serves notice on open spaces
By Dominic Nkolimwa
1st December 2010
The Minister of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Prof Anna Tibaijuka has ordered all people illegally occupying open spaces to surrender them before what she termed ‘land ranger operation’ starts. The Minister insisted that she was going to use existing laws to ensure that land problems were dealt with clearly, while warning people against using financial muscle to grab public open spaces.
“I will follow and respect the rule of law and not otherwise in dealing with issues falling under my ministry. I will never tolerate any person using money to occupy an open space,” she stressed.
Prof Tibaijuka, former executive director of the UN- Habitat was speaking yesterday at a press conference saying she was aware of the many challenges facing the land sector which caused unnecessary conflicts in the society.
“All this has been caused by selfish people who use their financial muscle to grab land. It is these same people who are bending the laws,” she said, adding: “I will ensure in my capacity as the minister, I give the first priority to the rule of law in the sector.”
She warned the rich who grab land that if it was a matter of money to spend, she had enough and was not tempted to be beholden to them. The minister said those who will not surrender the illegally acquired open spaces risked not being considered for any compensation. Prof Tibaijuka called for cooperation from the general public to enable the ministry carry out its obligations effectively: “Let the people inform us on who is breaching the law and we shall take legal measures immediately.” She said if people fully cooperated with the government, it would take only two years to eliminate all bottlenecks facing the sector, adding that within six months, clear signs of remarkable achievement could be realized.
“If we need to build the nation through this sector, we must have good plans for land use because this is the core factor for development. Land is everything,” she underscored.
Prof Tibaijuka said her ministry would also place special emphasis on planning for proper land use.
She said currently, only 2 per cent of the country’s land has been surveyed. While the country’s population was increasing at a fast rate, the minister said that available statistics indicated that there was a shortage of three million houses to cater for all Tanzanians. In July this year, a probe team formed by former Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, William Lukuvi, discovered that 104 open spaces out of 154 surveyed sites were illegally occupied.
The team discovered that indiscriminate change of land use plans in Dar es Salaam could not have been possible without the patronage of dishonest land officials, some known to have issued land occupancy documents to family members. The team leader, Ms Albina Burra, said Kinondoni was notorious in open spaces grabbing whereby 88 out of 110 open spaces visited in the municipality were grabbed for different use.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN