Mtwara Region was officially established in 1971 as a result of the Regional Empowerment Program which aimed to move services closer to the people. Before that the region was within the Southern Province which included Ruvuma, Lindi and Mtwara Regions where the Regional Headquarters was Lindi. When this region was established, it already had three (3) Districts which are Masasi established in 1928 under the British colonial rule, Newala in 1956 under the British colonial rule and Mtwara established in 1961. Due to the increase in population and the growth of the Mtwara Region, more Districts were added the other 2 which are Tandahimba District established in 1995 from Newala District and Nanyumbu established in 2006 from Masasi District. The word Mtwara is derived from the Makonde language word “kutwala” meaning to take (grab) anything. A large percentage of the original inhabitants of this area are Makonde who use the Makonde language as a means of communication, in Makonde society they are divided into two parts, the first part is those who live in the Coastal Zone known as “Wamalaba” and those who live apart from Coastal zone “Wamakonde of the mainland” although they speak the same language but there are some differences in their entire way of life in their economic, social and customs activities.

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