Tanzania, Malawi taking different stands on Lake Malawi ownership
Neighbouring nations of Tanzania and Malawi are still fighting over Lake Malawi with leaders from both nations taking conflicting stands on the matter.
Malawi President Peter Mutharika on Monday spoke at the opening the 4th ordinary session of Pan-African Parliament in Johannesburg, South Africa where he called for the need for nations to avoid causing rows over borders.
This was in reference to the longstanding row over part of the Lake Malawi which Tanzania claims it owns.
Mutharika said: “From the 1890 Heligoland Treaty to the 1964 Resolution on Border Disputes among African States by the OAU, there has never been a reason for disrespecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations. Africa did not come to be what it is by mistake. It is then wise to remember that we co-exist peacefully because our forefathers who founded the countries we govern today valued unity in spite of our boundaries,” said Mutharika.
This however comes hot on the heels of sentiments by Tanzania’s High Commissioner, Victoria Mwakasege, that her nation intends to fully benefit from resources from the water body as Malawi has plans to drill oil and source water from Salima to Lilongwe.
Media reports in Malawi quoted her as saying that Tanzania still cares for talks but would want to benefit from the lake – something that lengthens their five year stand they own part of the Lake.
‘’In as far as we are concerned we would want to benefit from the resources. We are aware Malawi is starting to drill oil from the lake,” she is quoted by a local paper.
Recently, Mutharika said the whole of the Lake belongs to Malawi and that it is not negotiable.
Besides that, President John Magufuli of Tanzania has been saying that part of Lake Malawi belongs to Tanzania.
Malawi earlier this year protested to the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) over a new map being promoted by Tanzania showing that the East African nation owns part of the lake.
A committee of former presidents led by the then Mozambican leader Joaquim Chissano is facilitating the talks – which have overtime proved fruitless.
The Lake Malawi dispute started way back in the 1960s but the current wrangle began after Malawi awarded licences to various companies to search for oil and gas on the lake.
BY JOSEPH DUMBULA