Compulsory Land Acquisitions In Tanganyika: Revisiting The British Colonial Expropriation Principles And Practices
Cletus Eligius Ndjovu
Index Terms: Expropriation, colonialism, compulsory land acquisition, expropriation laws and practices, British Tanganyika
Abstract: The British took over Tanganyika from the Germans in 1919 after the First World War. In facilitating colonial economic policies the British Colonial Government enacted Land Ordinance Cap 113 of 1923 and Land Acquisition Ordinance Cap 118 of 1926. These laws facilitated the acquisition of native lands and considerably changed the way expropriation was handled leaving behind permanent marks on the later practice. The colonial practice exposed the inner most economic intents of the British government. Use of legal phrases like “for public purpose” embedded in the ordinance had multiple legal interpretations and loose definition befitting the colonial economic cravings of the time. Although major provisions of the colonial acquisition laws are reflected in the later laws, evidence suggests that a few elements of colonial expropriation practices have also sneaked in as “silent laws” of expropriation but others have not. Quite a few practices had been deliberately discarded or inadvertently forgotten for lack of a political will to purify and emulate them or due to lack of good record keeping. Using historical data and archival records from the Tanzania National Archives, this study explored colonial expropriations, mainly by focusing on the principles, laws, practices and procedures used. The main objective of the study was to identify “good practices” used during the said era, the intended and unintended consequences of these unreported practices especially those which need to be emulated by the current laws and practices. The study concluded by shedding light on “bad practices” which are being exercised to date uncritically but also acknowledging “good colonial expropriation practices” which existed then but could be emulated. First, the study insists that “public purpose clause’ in expropriation must be affected with “good and fair” intentions and a mechanism to check this be set. Secondly, PAPs’ involvement in land acquisition and compensation negotiations should be codified into laws. Thirdly, adequacy of compensation should be improved by legalising payment of solatium on top of the basic compensation amounts. Fourthly, the practice ought to institute “financial ability to develop a plot” as a basic prerequisite for obtaining an alternative plot during expropriation. Lastly, there is a need to institutionalise statutory time limits for processing land acquisition and compensation claims, and the time needed to remove PAPs from lands so acquired.
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