Powers under Antiquities Act

I live in Musoma, in a very historic area that is surrounded by various structures that were built or came into existence decades ago. About four months ago, officers from the Antiquities Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism came to our place to inspect what they said was a monument on my property. I wish to know what my rights are if there is, indeed, a monument on my site.
16 January 2012

The Antiquities Act provides for preservation and protection of sites that have an archaeological, historical or natural interest. Under this Act, the Minister is empowered to declare, by order in the Gazette, any place, site or structure to be a monument. Hence, the antiquities department cannot one day wake up, appear on your plot and claim that an area is a monument. The gazettement of the place, site or structure must happen.
Under the Antiquities Act, the Director of Antiquities and any person authorised by them may, at all reasonable times (a) enter and inspect any monument; (b) fence, repair and otherwise protect or preserve any monument; (c) search and excavate for relics in any monument and remove any relics hitherto undiscovered provided that: (i) where the monument is a place of ordinary habitation or occupation, the director and any such person aforesaid shall give the occupier not less than forty-eight hours’ notice in writing of his intention to exercise any of the powers specified in this subsection. The Act further states that any person who wilfully obstructs the director, or any other person authorised by him under the Act, shall be guilty of an offence.

If your property does contain a monument then, under the Act, the director has the power to enter to view it, after giving you 48 hours’ notice. In your case, it seems like you had no such prior notice.

We wish to point out that monuments and areas that fall under the Antiquities Act are well known and gazetted. It is therefore very unlikely that department officials would merely appear one day on your property. We strongly suggest that you verify the identity of these so-called officials with the Ministry.