Pastoralists were evicted from the wetlands of Usangu and Ihefu in Mbariali District, on the assumption that cattle grazing on the wetlands was the root cause for power failures in the capital, attributed to drying out of water sources for hydro electricity schemes. A time line is presented, showing the course of events and providing the political context for using armed force in the National Anti-Livestock Campaign to remove an estimated 218,000 cattle from the wetlands, followed by disbanding 16 villages. To justify this, pastoralists are scape-goated using outmoded pseudo-science and inflated projected numbers of cattle (up to 2 million). There is evidence that the real reason for power failure lies with the power utility, which is using inefficient management procedures. After the evictions, CSOs documented human rights abuse in the eviction processes and successfully lobbied for a commission of enquiry, but the results remain secret. The processes and events expose that formal and informal decisions have been made based on personal and political interests. Also critical decisions were made without reference to the instruments of policy or law. Lessons are that it may be unwise to rely on policy and law, but that diversification of strategies may be effective: even development of formal policy is often the result of aggressive backroom lobbying and negotiating. Another observation was the failure of CSOs to mobilise at the local level; a unified local level response can be difficult to achieve due to the varying interests of different groups who are engaging in pastoralist related livelihoods. National level CSO response was late, but when it came it was remarkably effective. Based on this case study, a range of observations are made, e.g.: 1) there is need to develop a cross-sectoral pastoralist policy, 2) evidence based advocacy is effective if targeted well, 3) informal means of pressing for an agenda can be effective, 4) pastoralist CSOs should strengthen effective engagement in alliances for development of common agendas.