Prof Tibaijuka needs support from public
16th December 2010
Professor Anna Tibaijuka has kept her promise to the public to ensure that land problems were dealt with clearly and according to the law.
On her first day in office, the newly appointed Lands, Housing and Settlements Development minister served notice to all people who illegally occupied open spaces to surrender them before the start of what she termed as ‘land ranger operation’.
True to her word, she set in motion the process of restoring sanity in the way land issues are handled in the country on Tuesday, when she made a tour of Dar es Salaam to inspect invaded open spaces, ordering demolition of structures in two such areas.
The structures are plot No.59 flur 1 Ocean Road and Palm Beach plot No 1006 which are demarcated as open spaces.
Prof Tibaijuka ordered the fence built at plot No.59 flur 1 Ocean Road near Aga Khan Hospital to be demolished because the owner, Shree Hindu Mandal did not have legal ownership of the plot.
According to the Director of Urban Planning in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Albina Burra in 1952 the area was legally given to Shree Hindu Mandal for cremation and in 1967, the ownership was shifted to another plot No.1 at Kijitonyama but the title deed was not invalidated.
Burra told Prof Tibaijuka that Shree Hindu Mandal later emerged and claimed that it wanted to change the area from a crematorium to other social uses.
However, the President cancelled the first title deed and the Registrar registered it as an open space number 131942 as of September 2, 2010.
Plot number 1006 at Palm Beach, according to Prof Tibaijuka was illegally released to S. N Patel and G. N Patel while the house built on it belonged to one Thaher Muccadam.
The minister maintained that the people who claimed to own the plot had no title deed, as former President Benjamin Mkapa had in 2002 declared the area an open space.
She noted that illegal owners of the area were arrogant since they even ignored the presidential authority and the entire public for their own gain.
“We cannot have double standards in our country, where some invaded areas are demolished while others are left intact. I call upon the relevant state organs to help in demolishing the house so that the area is developed for public welfare,” she directed.
Given the above scenario, no doubt the area she has chosen to start with in sorting out the land administration mess is the trickiest, yet one which cannot be allowed to continue.
And as she will know only too well, they are many and have been a major hurdle to national development and the prosperity of individual citizens.
Kinondoni municipality in Dar es Salaam leads in land disputes, some of which have defied solutions, as proved by the review teams appointed by President Jakaya Kikwete, when he took office in 2005.
However, the minister has had the benefit of working with UN Habitat, gaining an invaluable insight into the problems and issues that haunt countries such as ours.
Given this experience and her stated passion of making land one of the tools for reducing poverty, we are confident that Prof Tibaijuka will make a difference in the ministry.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN