Tanzania's Parliament is mulling a review of the grazing land law blocking livestock from crossing borders to feed, in a move that could see neighbouring pastoral communities pay hefty fines whenever their herds breach the common borderline.
“A person shall not move an animal into mainland Tanzania for the purposes of grazing or accessing water,” states one of the clauses in proposed amendments to the Grazing Land and Animal Feed Resources Act.
Violators of the new law will be liable to minimum fines of Tsh20,000 ($8.70) and Tsh100,000 ($43.50) per animal, depending on the type of herd involved. Cattle, donkeys, horses and water buffalos are cited in the more expensive category; goats, pigs and “such other animals” in the other.
“Where a person fails to pay the fine within seven days the court may, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, order confiscation of the animals in respect of which the offence was committed, and all animals confiscated shall be disposed of in the manner which the court directs,” the proposed law states.
In his statement on reasons for the proposed law change which forms part of the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2020, Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi said that it is aimed at, among other things, "restricting entry of animals from outside Tanzania with a view to protecting grazing land resources."
The Bill is set for a second reading when Parliament resumes its sittings in April.
Effective implementation of such laws would be difficult, given the cultural ties between tribes that share borders like the Maasai and Kuria.
"This (proposed) law is a stand-alone and does regional integration no favours. The fashioners of this law took no consideration that illegalizing something is one thing – implementing is another," said Nick Oyoo Kasera, a social analyst.
According to former Tanzanian government law draftsman Florian Rutahindurwa, the promulgators of the proposed law were likely seeking to "curb mischief like cross-border cattle rustling and gun crime triggered by pastoral conflicts."