Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Contested Lands: Land Disputes in Semi-Arid Parts of Northern Tanzania

Case Studies of the Loliondo and Sale Divisions

Sanna Ojalammi

Doctoral dissertation, May 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Geography.

This study Contested Lands: Land disputes in semi-arid parts of northern Tanzania. Case Studies of the Loliondo and Sale Division in the Ngorongoro District concentrates on describing the specific land disputes which took place in the 1990s in the Loliondo and Sale Divisions of the Ngorongoro District in northern Tanzania. The study shows the territorial and historical transformation of territories and property and their relation to the land disputes of the 1990s'.

It was assumed that land disputes have been firstly linked to changing spatiality due to the zoning policies of the State territoriality and, secondly, they can be related to the State control of property where the ownership of land property has been redefined through statutory laws.

In the analysis of the land disputes issues such as use of territoriality, boundary construction and property claims, in geographical space, are highlighted. Generally, from the 1980s onwards, increases in human population within both Divisions have put pressure on land/resources. This has led to the increased control of land/resource, to the construction of boundaries and finally to formalized land rights on village lands of the Loliondo Division.

The land disputes have thus been linked to the use of legal power and to the re-creation of the boundary (informal or formal) either by the Maasai or the Sonjo on the Loliondo and Sale village lands. In Loliondo Division land disputes have been resource-based and related to multiple allocations of land or game resource concessions. Land disputes became clearly political and legal struggles with an ecological reference.Land disputes were stimulated when the common land/resource rights on village lands of the Maasai pastoralists became regulated and insecure.

The analysis of past land disputes showed that space-place tensions on village lands can be presented as a platform on which spatial and property issues with complex power relations have been debated. The reduction of future land disputes will succeed only when/if local property rights to land and resources are acknowledged, especially in rural lands of the Tanzanian State.

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Last updated 02.05.2006

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