News / Africa

Report: E. African Minorities Losing Resources

Karo tribesman wears a gun as he guards his goats on the bank of the River Omo, April 2002 (file photo).
Karo tribesman wears a gun as he guards his goats on the bank of the River Omo, April 2002 (file photo).

London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRGI) has released a report detailing how minority groups in resource-scarce East Africa face major challenges over access to and control of natural resources.

According to MRGI, national and international companies are moving into East African areas traditionally occupied by minority communities, fueling competition for increasingly scarce resources and deepening longstanding animosities and conflicts between communities.

"Because you have had this influx of companies [and the subsequent] scramble for resources in Africa, many of them have found themselves specifically having to go to minority areas," says MRGI's Africa regional information officer Mohamed Matovu. "Already these are disputed lands because many of them are held in trust, others are communally owned by communities. So they seem to be no-man’s lands, but there are actually communities living here."

The report cites the example of Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya, where the Maasai people lay traditional claim to the land. Several decades ago, a national energy company and farmers began moving into the area, affecting 20,000 Maasai.

The Maasai argue that power installations prevent them from using the pasture in the area to feed their cattle, their main source of livelihood. Conflicts between the Maasai and the newcomers continue today.

Another concern is ongoing construction of the Gilgel Gibe lll hydroelectric dam on Ethiopia's Omo River, a vital Lake Turkana tributary. A controversial project that critics describe as a severe threat to the indigenous population, its completion has been jeopardized by withdrawal of financial backers and a campaign of international opposition.

"River Omo is actually the major inlet into Lake Turkana," says pastoralist Abdullahi Dima, MRGI's expert in resource conflict management. "If this is going to be tapped for hydro-electric power ... you can just imagine the type of problem that will arise. We are in the era of climate change, [and] if Lake Turkana, this whole huge resource, is going to dry up, this has a direct bearing on the lives and the livelihoods of the communities around this region."

Dima predicts that the Turkana and Merille minority groups in the area, both of whom rely on herding as their primary economic activity, will carry out more attacks against one another as they struggle to get water for their cattle.

The organization defines “minority groups” as being disadvantaged ethnic, national, religious, linguistic or cultural communities smaller in number than the rest of the population, wishing to maintain their identity.

In East Africa, these are typically herders and other indigenous people. Examples include the Olkaria Maasai in Kenya, the Karamojong in Uganda and the Dinka Bor in South Sudan.

The report says that, although the minority groups differ in size, location and livelihood, they all face similar challenges: diminishing natural resources, insecurity, and discrimination from the wider society.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid