LONG standing territorial conflicts that have been affecting Mkungunero Game Reserve mapped between Kiteto District of Manyara region and Kondoa in Dodoma, are in the process of being solved amicably.
According to Mr Emmanual Birraso, the Manager in Charge at Mkungunero GR, there is a special government task force from the ministry that was dispatched to work with local villagers, district authorities as well as the game reserve management to ensure that Mkungunero, which is the source of Tarangire River, remains a well conserved precinct without affecting surrounding communities.
“Mkungunero is surrounded by 12 villages but the conflicts were mostly between the game reserve and residents of the adjacent Kimotorok Village,” said Mr Birrasso, adding that it was only a few people who created the mayhem for personal gain.
The Manager revealed here that Mkungunero is the lifeline for Tarangire because the large river which sustains flora and fauna in the national park originates from the game reserve; “It is also the water source for parts of Simanjiro District in Manyara.”
The Director General for the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA), Dr James Wakibara who recently visited Mkungunero, admitted that the year 2018 will start with turning a new leaf at the game reserve as well as surrounding communities.
Kimotorok village lies in the southern Simanjiro District adjacent to Kondoa and Kiteto districts and also bordering the Tarangire National Park to the West in Simanjiro as well as the Mkungunero Game Reserve to the West and Southwest in Kondoa.
For a long time Kimotorok village has had boundary conflicts with both the Tarangire Park and Mkungunero Game Reserve authorities who are accused of redefining their boundaries every year, and encroaching towards Kimotorok village land, a legally registered village with registration number AR/KIJ/5051st June 1993.
The residents of Kimotorok initially claimed that the conflict was due to ‘unclear’ boundaries of Simanjiro and Kondoa districts, and also the regional boundary between Dodoma and Manyara. During his tour of Manyara region last February, Prime Minister, Mr Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa directed Dodoma and Manyara Regional Authorities to solve the territorial misunderstanding between the two precincts.
The Premier later also issued directives to have all national parks and game reserves to install beacons to clearly mark their territorial boundaries in order to ease the conflicts. The management of Mkungunero stated here that they are in the process of erecting beacons and that the exercise has so far been accomplished by over 60 per cent around the game reserve measuring 742 square kilometres.
Previously, villagers complained that the drawn maps which describe the boundaries of the game reserve were not actually translating what the government notice (GN) that established it is saying, claiming that there are technical errors that need to be challenged in court or through experts in the actual field ground and features and this, according to the management, has also been solved