It was on 2nd August, 2010 when Young Environmentalists trainees and trainers visited Babati District in Manyara region for learning purpose. The trip started at MS-TCDC in Arusha region were the trainees were trained. The trainees visited three sites; Farm Africa at Dareda, Ayasanda village, Hala village (Mzee Tambo place-Private ownership of the forest).
Among the three sites, I will focus on Private Ownership of forest in light of the law; Case study Mzee Tambo.
Mzee Tambo is an old Man living at Hala Village in Babati District. He owns a private forest. He is doing other activities such as tree nursery, coffee plantation, vegetables, and fruits farming. He is regarded as an example in environmental protection which I subscribe also.
My article establishes the legal requirement for one to own a private forest and also reference is made to Mzee Tambo private ownership of the forest. Does Mzee Tambo Have legal security for his private forest? What is his legal status for his ownership? The aim is to provoke mind of different stakeholders towards the ownership of the forest. The aim is not to address specifically mzee Tambo issue however isM to give legal position with regards to private ownership of forest. The position of the law will enable the reader to answer the above questions and also think big towards other legal issues.
According to the Forest Act, No 14 of 2002, S.4 private forest is defined as : forests on village land held by one or more individuals under a customary right of occupancy or forests on general or village land of which the rights of occupancy or a lease has been granted to a person or persons or a partnership or a corporate body or a Non-Governmental organization or any other body or organization for the purpose of managing the forest which is required to be carried out in accordance with this Act.
The construction of the provision of the law above is that the person owning the forest must be given legal right under the law to be a legal owner. This implies that the person must have a right of occupancy or lease to manage the forest; otherwise he will not have legal security. A person may make an assumption towards ownership of the forest however in reality he has no ownership of the same because of lack of legal security.
If the dispute arises there will not be any evidence which shows that the forest belongs to him. This is a tendency in a number of issues were people assume ownership of different things. Legal security is important for everything. Even in Marriage a person must have certificate of marriage to prove that the woman with him is his legal wife, otherwise if he don’t have a certificate of marriage the woman will not be regarded us his wife. Besides there are issues of presumption of marriage which I don’t want to go into because is not my intention.
Ownership of the forest must be legalized for the purpose of legal security and also conservation of the environment. Therefore, stakeholders (YETS inclusive) have to educate people the importance of legal security for everything.
People must draw example from mzee Tambo initiatives towards environmental conservation. Besides, Private ownership of forest must be adapted by the community and be implemented accordingly for environmental conservation and also as source of income. However legal security is important for everything.
Quote of the day: “Your are what you’re not”
By Baraka Saiteu Kiboya