In February 2010 the community of Kipawa was evicted to make way for construction of a third terminal at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA), the main airport of Tanzania located southwest of Dar es Salaam.
The eviction happened suddenly. Teargas was deployed and within two days more than 300 buildings had been demolished. Visiting the site in March 2012 Beibei Yin reported that the demolished area had been fenced off and a sign stated that a Chinese firm, Chinese International Fund, was to construct a terminal building as part of a project to expand the airport. Kipawa had been a lively neighbourhood and home to about 1,300 families, who were now struggling to rebuild their lives. Many residents had lived in Kipawa for most of their lives. Overnight, the eviction had made many of them homeless, according to the Legal and Human Rights Centre, a Tanzania-based non-governmental organisation. More than 480 of the evicted families had protested against the proposed compensation package, arguing that it undervalued their homes by 50 per cent and was based on an obsolete Land Acquisition Act dating back to 1967. Like many residents, Eric’s budget for buying a new house was limited due to the compensation he was given. He only had sufficient funds for one room, to accommodate a family of eight people. Eric said the family were getting by without electricity and clean water was unaffordable. The only available water was from a muddy ground well dug by local people .
Reporting from Kipawa a few months later, in October 2012 Beibei Yin spoke with Magnus Malisa, leader of a group of discontented Kipawa evictees. He had been jailed for protesting against the eviction and said the government was only paying half of the compensation that residents deserved. Valuation for the compensation package was based on the obsolete Land Acquisition Act of 1967. He said: “The eviction at Kipawa was announced 13 years before it happened. The government had enough time to prepare a proper relocation plan. Yet, we were thrown into a bush after our homes were torn down within a few days.” Most Kipawa evictees had been relocated in an area 36km further west, where they did not have access to electricity, clean water, schools or roads .
The JNIA expansion project began in 1997 with a government declaration of the area to be acquired. Residents in the area allocated for the project were ordered to stop making any improvements on the land. The project was launched without provision of sufficient funds to compensate affected people. No budget was set aside for this until the 2010/11 financial year. Compensation levels were guided by the Land Acquisition Act of 1967, not the Land Act 1999 which supersedes it and requires that compensation should be full, fair and payable to any person whose interest in land is affected, and that valuation of land should be based on the market value .
Impoverishment risks from poorly managed resettlement
Empirical evidence from studies conducted in 2014 and 2017 confirmed impoverishment risks caused by the massive resettlement for JNIA expansion. Poorly managed displacement processes and lack of adherence to policies and guidelines exposed the affected population to short and long- term impoverishment risks. A total of 2,084 suburban properties in Kipawa and Kigilagila were earmarked for many years until residents from both settlements were suddenly displaced. Some affected people were rendered homeless, for periods of weeks or months. One reason for homelessness was that displaced people were only given three months to relocate to the new settlement area after receiving their compensation cheques, too short a time for relocating a family.
Affected people did not receive any assistance for livelihood restoration. They lost many income-generating opportunities as the new settlements were in less developed, peri-urban areas. There was increased morbidity in the displaced community, partially attributable to lack of access to safe, clean water. People had no option but to dig shallow wells to access water and this led to an eruption of water-borne diseases such as Typhoid, Cholera and dysentery. Research conducted in 2017 confirmed that the resettlement area lacked almost all social facilities. There was still no electricity supply and the new settlement did not yet have a safe, clean water; 63% were dependent upon rainwater harvesting, 20% got water from shallow wells and 17% from swamps. Displaced people also suffered food insecurity due to the resettlement process. They lacked shops and markets to purchase food, and also were unable to access transport to where these facilities were available. Some people subsisted on one meal per day due to scarcity of food and lack of income caused to unemployment. Displacement had caused social disintegration; there was a loss of social networks, along with dismantled trading links and production systems .
Inadequate assistance of displaced people
A study of the social impacts of JNIA expansion, based on a survey of 190 affected households and interviews with other stakeholders, conducted in 2015, concluded that Tanzania has insufficient legal provisions to compel the government to adequately assist those affected by resettlement projects. The expansion project led to the displacement of three unplanned settlements close to the airport: Kipawa, Kigilagila and Kipungini. The government claimed it already owned the land and was merely taking it back from encroachers. Affected people denied that they were encroachers and presented their customary land titles. Finally, they agreed to accept compensation on the basis that they were squatters, although they did not accept this term. Tanzania Airports Authority (TAA) failed to pay compensation in a timely manner; there was a 12-year delay. TAA announced compensation for Kipawa residents first, in October 2009. Many complained the proposed payment devalued their homes. Several civil society groups tried to intervene, but their attempts to get the government to aid affected people were not successful.
Between October 2010 and January 2011 864 households from Kigilagila were compensated. The process of vacating Kigilagila was largely peaceful but some departed residents reported that on arrival at the new settlement they faced strong opposition from the host population who claimed they had not been compensated for the resettlees to take over their land. Some people from the host population used weapons to threaten the resettlees and prevent them from occupying the new land that had they been allocated. Local government failed to resolve conflicts between resettlees and the host population; there was no conflict resolution mechanism. At the time of the field study, in 2015, some Kigilagila residents who fled the new settlement area, due to the threats by the host community, were still waiting to be allocated new plots of land.
Socioeconomic changes were found to have affected the 240 households randomly selected for the survey. The proportion of people with jobs declined from 95% before relocation to 76% afterwards. Women were more adversely affected; their unemployment rate went up from 4% to 22%. For men, the unemployment rate increased from 5% to 17%. The resettlement programme had no plan for future income sources for resettles. People who had depended upon income opportunities in the vicinity of JNIA were placed at a disadvantage by the increased distance and cost of transportation, especially women who sold food and drink to people working in the industrial area. There was a dearth of employment opportunities or potential customers in the new settlement; small-scale and home-based businesses were particularly severely affected.
People were expected to reconstruct their homes in the new settlements, but five years after relocation 85% of affected households had not completed their new homes. Only 14% had maintained the same number of rooms in their new homes as they had their previous homes. The new settlement had few schools and health centres and there were complaints of overcrowding for resettlees and the receiving communities. There was a significant reduction in the proportion of households connected to the national electricity grid, down from 95% to just 8%. Survey respondents expressed a high level of dissatisfaction in their living conditions, in comparison with their pre-resettlement conditions. Distress caused by poorer living conditions was exacerbated by a high level of family separations resulting from relocation.
There was a lack of a standard, reliable method of informing resettles about the project. Very few respondents confirmed receipt of a handwritten notice of acquisition from the Ministry of Lands and Human Settlement Development. Failure to involve resettlees in the early stages of the project caused a lack of trust between TAA and affected people. Believing they had no influence over decision-making they perceived sensitisation meetings to be ‘meaningless’. A majority, 77%, of respondents were very dissatisfied with the resettlement programme. Affected people suffered due to absence of a comprehensive national resettlement policy and guidelines, which resulted in no administrative body being held responsible for implementation of the resettlement process .
Over 2,000 displaced property owners from the settlements of Kipawa and Kigilagila, which were totally demolished, were relocated to new settlement areas in the Pugu and Chanika wards. TAA and Ilala Municipal Council selected four peri-urban areas in the two wards for resettling displaces: Kigogo Freshi, Kinyamwezi, Zavala and Nyeburu. Farming was still the main occupation in these areas. The resettlement caused members of the receiving communities to lose their farms, which were converted to residential land uses. A PhD research project conducted between 2010 and 2013 (based on in-depth interviews with affected farm owners hosting the displaced people, local leaders, project officials, politicians and local authorities in the Ilala municipality) found that the receiving community was the least compensated for the impacts of the JNIA expansion project and some of them lost their livelihoods.
Displacement in the resettlement areas
Beginning in December 2010 people displaced from Kipawa and Kigilagila started to access the plots of land they had been allocated, where they began to construct houses. Some people from the host community began to confront the displacees who were accessing their new plots. TAA arranged for police escort to protect members of the Plot Allocation Committee from agitated original settlers. Confrontations eased after the government allocated USD1.3 million to compensate the farm owners. However, farm owners were displeased with the amount of compensation, maintaining it was lower than expected, and objected to how it was paid. All the farm owners who were interviewed complained about how small the amount was and that it did not follow the provisions of the Land Act 1999. The Land Act 1999 specifies that compensation must consider land area by acreage, crop values, disturbance allowance, and building value. None of these were accurately considered in the calculation of the compensation package. Out of 337 farm owners, 93 refused to accept their compensation cheques.
Some farm owners were themselves displaced when plots that included their houses were allocated to property-owners displaced by the JNIA expansion project. Allocation of land for facilities such as a health centre and a football pitch, within the resettlement areas caused further displacement in the receiving community. Farm owners lost their sources of income and food from farms, crops, and trees. Six households had lost their place of habitation. The research project concluded that affected farmers within the resettlement areas were subject to the same types of impoverishment risks as the displaced property-owners who were relocated to the area: food insecurity, joblessness, and homelessness. Farmers in the host community were placed at a higher degree of impoverishment risk because they were few in number and their level of participation in the resettlement process was lower .