Press Releases


Maasai expulsions in Tanzania

Tourism agreement with China in supposed nature reserve

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has announced a new agreement with the Chinese government, focusing on the expansion of tourism in the Ngorongoro Nature Reserve. “The idea is to further tourism in the homeland of the Maasai, from where the Tanzanian government has been displacing the indigenous people since 2019. The government’s own arguments of nature conservation and protecting species from too much human influence are thereby reduced to absurdity,” criticized Christoph Hahn, expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect at the Society of Threatened Peoples (STP), in Göttingen on Tuesday.

According to the NCAA, the agreement envisages several construction and modernization measures, including a modern geological research institute, a museum, and several viewing platforms for tourists. The Tanzanian Commissioner for Cultural Heritage and Geology explained that the development of tourist attractions could encourage tourists to plan longer stays. “For the Maasai, it is now unmistakably clear that the government’s rhetoric on conservation was deceitful from the very beginning. The violent expulsion of the Maasai follows economic interests,” explained Joseph Oleshangay, Maasai activist und lawyer. “Many of the investments are to be made in places the government deems too valuable to let livestock graze there. However, they are building modern infrastructure. This is illogical. The research facilities are supposed to be built in locations that are ideal for the grazing of our livestock in Mungororoni – places where they are planning to search for raw materials deposits,” Oleshangay added.

The Tanzanian government has been trying to force the Maasai out of two conservation areas in the Serengeti ecosystem since 2019 – partly by means of violent force, and partly by depriving the Maasai of social services in order to make them leave.The government is justifying the plans for the Ngorongoro area with an allegedly increased population pressure caused by the growing number of Maasai.