The TownhallPolitics

Tanzania’s attack on the Maasai sheds light on indigenous struggles

By Gugulethu Hughes

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV.

The Maasai people of East Africa have a rich history of resisting colonial conquest. They’re possibly one of the few African groups that have to a greater degree maintained their cultural purity. But in Tanzania, colonialism’s legacy still haunts that very culture. 

The Maasai are often referred to as pastoralists for their norm of moving around with their livestock in search of productive lands. However, they’re instead a well-organized tribe boasting a sophisticated form of civilization free from colonial influences. To refer to them as nomads and pastoralists reductively insinuates that there is something peculiar with them. 

If there is a peculiarity, then it is the western colonizers that have throughout history exhibited copious amounts of inhumane acts. The only crime committed by the Maasai is to resist colonialism and culture erosion in osmotic fashion. The word “pastoralist” has its roots in the Latin word “pastoralis,” meaning “of herdsmen, of shepherds.” So, a person who is a nomadic wanderer without a set farm area. Land, livestock, wildlife, and plants are a natural habitat of the Maasai and other indigenous groups. To try and separate the Maasai from their natural habitat is an act of displacement and dispossession. 

This western culture of dispossession and displacement is the citadel of colonialism, imperialism, and white supremacy. History books are awash with acts of imperialists displacing indigenous people from their fertile lands into dry reserves, using the barrel of the gun and the many treaties that indigenous people were duped into signing. All the colonial treaties fail the test of morality and legality in contracts law. The “political independence” of some indigenous peoples from colonial powers did not lead to an abolition of these illegal and immoral laws either. 

The never-ending assault on Africa is aided by statutes that perpetuate selective legality. As a matter of fact, all black people are indigenous people who at varying levels have faced extermination from Europeans. This is not only a physical extermination, but extends to cultures, values, norms, spirituality, and intellectuality. 

When the World Economic Forum preaches about the New World Order, for us black people this does not mark the beginning of a new way of life, but rather a latest Eurocentric adventure. At a basic level, there is something terribly wrong with Europeans moving into Africa and laying claim to our natural environment. The productive lands we were displaced from have never been left dormant, but have rather been utilized for Europe’s own commercial interests. They have not stopped at commercial agricultural activities but created a whole industry out of insanity called conservation. 

The Europeans do not consider black people human enough, but at the same time do not consider us animalistic enough to not challenge their insatiable desire for global domination.  

To that end, they have separated from our cultures, tampered with our spirituality, displaced us from our land, and introduced us to a Eurocentric apprehension of reality through mental destabilization and reconditioning. We were not introduced to humanity and civilization by Europeans, instead we are victims of civilization recession. 

Those European authors and forebears of our misfortunes as black people must know that our generation does not buy into the conservation lies for the simple reason that conservation should never be born out of displacement, degradation, and destruction. 

The United Nations adopted a declaration on September 13, 2007 – Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. At the time of adoption, New Zealand, Australia, USA, and Canada voted against this resolution, because since time memorial those countries thrived on oppressing indigenous people. 

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the declaration was “the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.” 

Having studied the provision of this instrument, it begs the mind why the international justice system is not breathing on the necks of colonists who are using conservation organizations as proxies for the continued displacement of indigenous people. 

Indigenous people, indeed, black people, have never been a threat to their environment so much to warrant displacement and dispossession. The Europeans are obsessed with managing wildlife populations through trophy hunting, controlling indigenous people, and separating us from our fauna and flora which serve as mechanisms for a healthy naturally balanced life.  

The United Nations, because it serves the masters of eugenics first and foremost, is best known for condemning violations of rights of indigenous people while behind the scenes lobbying for the violation of those same rights. Within the confines of legalized illegality, natives are engaged in creating awareness on the decimation of indigenous people. Most recently, the Maasai people in Tanzania are facing decimation. 

The Maasai misfortunes in Tanzania and Kenya

The month of June has seen Tanzania’s military and other security forces under instruction from western stooge President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who herself is on hire to preserve existing structural conditions, use force to displace the Maasai people from their rich Ngorongoro lands. Live ammunition was set on the Maasai for resisting the occupation of their land by Ortello Corporation, a hunting company owned by the Saudi Arabia Royal Kingdom, and Boston-based Thomson Safaris. 

These companies want to claim sovereignty over Maasai land in order to expand their safari and trophy hunting business interests. Yes, the homes and hopes of the Maasai must be destroyed to make way for the Samia Suluhu and other agents of imperialism securing honorarium rewards. 

The Maasai struggle against displacement did not start in June. It’s a war that the Maasai have waged since the arrival of Europeans in East Africa via Port Mombasa centuries ago. The Serengeti Area, which houses the Serengeti National Park and several protected reserves, is a product of the displacement of the Maasai people. 

A Cambridge academic journal article titled “The Maasai and the British 1895-1905 Origins of an Alliance” mischievously presents the British as a Maasai ally in battle against German imperialism. This is often called the Anglo-Maasai Alliance. Part of the extract reads, 

“During the colonial period, the Maasai were conspicuous for their unwillingness to become involved in, or to co-operate with, colonial rule in Kenya. Between 1895 and 1904, however, the Maasai and the British had entered an informal alliance to further their mutual interests. The Maasai, badly hit by the human and animal plagues of the 1880s and early 1890s, needed time to recover their stock and to reorganize their society. The British, hampered by lack of money and troops, and in a weak position, could not afford to antagonize the Maasai who controlled their lines of communication. Co-operation proved fruitful for both sides. The Maasai were able to get stock by joining punitive expeditions, while the British relied on them to supply irregular troops. Olonana, the Maasai laibon, was able to enlist British influence in support of his claims to paramountcy against his brother, Senteu, who lived in German territory. The contrast between German and British policy towards the Maasai illustrates some of the advantages which the British and the Maasai gained from their alliance. After 1904, this alliance began to break down as their interests diverged. Olonana was left isolated as both sides began to work out a new understanding.” 

The truth is that, just like the Germans, the British were waging their own war in the scramble for Maasai land. Thanks to the farce alliance, the British moved the Maasai from the fertile Rift Valley in East and Central Africa to the dry reserves of Narok. Kenyan politician Ole Ntimama captured the Maasai Dilemma bred by the British better than anyone else. 

The non-profit African Democracy Encyclopedia Project detailed the state of German and British alliances in their scramble for East Africa – where compromises were made for colonial beneficiation, never for the indigenous. 

Part of the submission reads as follows, “The rivalry between the powers, the fear of each that it would be outdone by the others and left behind, gave a hysterical quality to the scramble for African. Germany, a late comer to the colonization movement, moved with vigor in East Africa in the 1880s. Carl Peters founded the Society for German Colonization as a tool for advancing German interests in East Africa. He signed a series of treaties in 1884/5 with sultans and chiefs in the hinterland. Vague agreements between Britain and Germany in 1886 delimiting separate spheres of influence were followed by the treaty of 1890, which recognised Britain’s longstanding domination over Zanzibar and Pemba, while giving Germany a free hand in what was to become German East Africa. The dominions of the Zanzibari sultanate were partitioned. Zanzibar and Pemba became a British Protectorate, while the mainland possessions were distributed between Portuguese Mozambique, German East Africa, British Kenya, and British Somalia.” 

Even with the dawn of imagined political independence, displaced indigenous people like Maasai never had their land handed back to them. The Tanzanian military’s recent attack on the Maasai people is evidence that the system of displacement is a colonial gonorrhea that remains intact. 

National Parks created by Europeans in Africa are of no benefit to indigenous people other than being providers of cheap labor. Any other benefits are cosmetic. As black people, we need to realize the recent attack on the Maasai is a sign of what may still befall all of us. If we do not act, we will soon be driven into extinction. Some among us are already brain dead and getting remunerated for it. 

We possess all the expertise to preserve our environment without interference from Europeans and slave-owning Arabs. The only way to preserve our way of life is to resist all western machinations and definitions of conservation. The Europeans are not about to stop. They continue amassing African land under the disguise of conservation. It is time that we stand up to the bullies, and define our New World Order.

Subscribe to get early access to podcasts, events, and more!

Gugulethu Hughes


Gugulethu Hughes is the ScoonTV Africa correspondent

Tags: , , ,
Previous Post
The truth about conservation: privatization, racism, and control
Next Post
The only new streaming service we need is a creator-owned one

Related Articles

Tags: , , ,