Until Saturday, when a colleague of mine stumbled upon a man claiming to be a victim of land theft in¬†Mburahati Barafu, one of the unplanned, informal settlements of Dar es Salaam.¬†We went back to interview him today. After being away from home for only ten days he found that not only had someone managed to sell his back garden to a third party, but that someone had already built a house in its place. His neighbors seem to have signed off on the deal, as did the local officials. The worst part: his own brother was the one that made the sale and skipped town with the proceeds.
Maybe a land title would have guarded against this crazy fraternal expropriation, maybe not. Other residents seem to have taken matter into their own hands to make it clear that their property is strictly off the market: another house we ran into had nyumba haiuzwi¬†scrawled all over it –¬†house not for sale.