Armed villagers block minister, MPs vehicles over Loliondo saga

CHAOS ensued when irate residents from Arash Ward of Loliondo Division, many carrying traditional weapons, blocked a convoy of vehicles carrying the Tourism Minister and 30 Members of Parliament (MPs), preventing them from leaving the area.

However, police and other security personnel managed to diverge some of the vehicles, including that of the Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, allowing the cars to proceed with the journey from Wasso, towards Olduvai Gorge in Ngorongoro Division.

But, some vehicles were stuck for almost an hour as women sat in the middle of the road to prevent any movement, while armed men stood behind them, brandishing swords, spears and sticks, threatening to smash the cars windscreens.

The legislators from the National Assembly in Dodoma were all MPs for Lands, Natural Resources a n d Touri s m Committee. They had gone to Loliondo to familiarise themselves with the area and the controversial situation surrounding the boiling Game Controlled Area.

Our Committee is new and we went to Loliondo so that members can learn about the area and the situation before going back to debate the Loliondo Conflict Report, which was recently presented to the Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, said the Committee Chair person, Engineer Atashasta Justus Nditiye.

According to Eng. Nditiye, his committee was in Ngorongoro to perform National Assembly duties; We are here to learn, not to solve conflicts or address public rallies, he added.

But, the committee members, in addition to going around the Game Controlled Area, also held talks with local ward and village leaders, traditional elders, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and investors.

We were therefore surprised and actually dismayed when gangs of armed people waylaid our vehicles and pothreat to parliamentarians and government officials, said Mr Nditiye, pointing out that they suspect the chaos was orchestrated by some ill meaning parties.

Responding to the occurrence, the Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources, Prof Jumanne Maghembe, said; MPs must be left to perform their duties unhampered; it is very unfortunate when some people send Morans to cause chaos and derail the mission, the minister stated.

Other members of the Parliamentary Committee expressed disappointment over the chaotic situation that marred their mission to Loliondo; Some people made conclusions before even our task started, they said. sing

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