Public Interest & Litigation
Since its formation, LEAT has distinguished itself as a leading public interest environmental law organization, especially in the areas of extractive industries, wildlife, and wider environmental management. Strategic litigation is one of the core mandates that LEAT was established to carry on.
Prawn Farming Project:
In 1998 to 2002 LEAT teamed up with the residents of Rufiji Delta to oppose the establishment of what would have been the world’s largest prawn farm (10,000ha) in the delta by African Fishing Company (AFC). LEAT provided legal support to the residents’ organization known as Southern Regions Development Association (SRDA) to file a constitutional petition known as The Registered Trustees of Umoja wa Maendeleo ya Mikoa ya Kusini &4 others on behalf of 1924 others v African Fishing Company & 2 others (Misc. Civil Cause No. 56 High Court of Tanzania Dar es Salam Main Registry (Unreported)). The High Court issued an order to maintain the status quo which amounted to an injunction. That together with other campaigns regionally and internationally led to the abandonment of the project by AFC after the would-be financiers pulled out due to the environmental damage the project would have caused. The Tanzanian government in 2002 declared the Rufiji River Delta a Ramsar Site.
Daniel Kiangi & 64 Others v. Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO), Land Case No 92
of 2016. High Court of Tanzania Land Division at Dar es Salaam
The case was filed in 2016 where upon 65 plaintiffs are challenging the notices that were issued by Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) to them to demolish their houses alleging that they have encroached its way leave which is 20 meters from the central high-tension wires in Mburahati National Housing and Mburahati Barafu in Kinondoni district Dar es Salaam region. With the assistance of LEAT the residents obtained an injunction in 2016 which prevented their evictions.
From 1999 LEAT has worked tirelessly to campaign for equitable benefits to Tanzanians from the extraction of mineral resources by foreign mining companies. LEAT represented the artisanal and small-scale miners in Bulyanhulu opposed to their forceful evictions in 1996 from their mines by Kahama Mining Company Limited (KMCL) the then subsidiary of Sutton Resources of Canada. LEAT pointed out clearly that the evictions were carried out in July 30 to 7th August 1996 in blatant violation of the High Court of Tanzania injunction. LEAT presented their grievances to the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman(CAO) of International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) after the latter extended political risk cover to Barrick Gold of Canada involving this human rights violation tainted project. In 1999 Barrick Gold Corporation acquired the Bulyanhulu mine from Sutton Resources. The CAO while barred LEAT from lodging and adducing evidence that KMCL in the process of evicting the artisanal miners and of 52 people in the eviction project but issued a report that accused LEAT of fabricating claim about the massive evictions and the burying alive of more than 52 of those miners. LEAT maintains that its claims were truthful and that impartial investigation must be carried out.
LEAT has since been raising alarm on many facets of the extractive industry sector in Africa in general and Tanzania in particular and showed that the extractive industry legal regime was exploitative and favored the foreign mining companies. It argued and is arguing that the mineral development agreements (MDAs) signed between the Tanzanian government and foreign mining companies were reached contrary to the Tanzanian constitution and the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources (UNGA Res. 1803 of 1962) and the Charter on Economic Rights and Duties of States (UNGA Res. 3281 of 1974). LEAT’s campaign in the extractive sector has seen the extensive amendments to the Mining Act of 2010 in 2015 and 2017 together with the enactment of the Tanzania Extractive Industry Transparency Act of 2015; The Natural Wealth and Resources (Permanent Sovereignty) Act of 2017; Natural Wealth and Resources Contracts (Review and Renegotiation of Unconscionable Terms) Act, 2017; and the Petroleum Act of 2015. LEAT is continuing to raise awareness on Tanzanians about these laws and demands scrupulous enforcement to ensure that Tanzania is the primary beneficiary of its mineral resources.