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The ministry of Land, Housing and Human settlement together with the ministry of environment and Union Matters through National environment council (NEMC) and Dar es Salaam Authorities are conducting massive forced eviction to people living along river channels. According to the Authorities, the exercise is meant to remove residents from flood prone areas. The exercise began in mid December, 2015 along Msimbazi River in Dar es Salaam.

The eviction has left many poor urban slum dwellers helpless. There has been a lot of complains from the victim that the exercise was done within a short notice without being offered alternative shelter.  The victims say they now sleep in the open area over rubble surrounded by stagnant dirty water and open sewers. According to citizen newspaper of 7/January/2016, More than 350 houses have been demolished since the exercise began in mid- December in a continued plan by the government to pull down more than 8,000 houses along the Msimbazi River flood plain.  Following the complaints from victims and general public over the demolition exercise, the authorities have stopped the exercise for a while to address some of the queries.

CCI together with Tanzania Urban poor federation is working on collecting the data of the victims and use the information for negotiation and influencing the government on the ongoing and future exercise of similar nature. As for the CCI and Federation, the issue of removing people from hazard area is understandable as it aims on saving people’s lives but the concern has been on how the exercise is being carried out living many in crisis.

While the government is clearing these settlements, there is a need for the government and other key stakeholders to come together and think on how to address the informalities by looking on the causes of why people live in informal settlements including flood prone areas.  We believe that no one wants to live in such harsh environments. The questions we should ask ourselves are; where are the surveyed plots available to low income people? With high cost of land ranging from 10,000/=Tshs to 20,000/Tshs per square meter how many low income people can afford that price? How about the issue of Bureaucracy in land management? How about Lack of arrangements for accessing affordable housing for the poor?  These are some of the few questions we need to think in managing urban development in our cities. It is high time we need to think beyond evictions as a solution in our rapid growing cities.


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