Wednesday, 24 May 2017
The lake was discovered over 150 years ago The lake was discovered over 150 years ago Image sourced at

Lake Malawi Row Intensifies

Written by  Written By Jayne KAONGA in Blantyre May 19, 2017

The Lake Malawi dispute between Malawi and Tanzania is far from over and worsening.

The public is pointing out that the issue of Lake Malawi border claim by Tanzania could degenerate into a diplomatic spat if not handled carefully.

It comes in the wake of revelations that mediation efforts over the matter continue to be delayed, as both countries are not ready to compromise regarding ownership of the lake.

Statements released by the foreign affairs ministry in the press, are now triggering fears that the Tanzania envoy to Malawi Victoria Mwakasege could find herself on the next flight home.

The two governments submitted their respective positions on the lake to the High Level Mediation Team and Malawi insisted that the boundary was the shoreline of Lake Malawi as established by the 1890 Anglo-Germany Treaty.

Tanzania said the boundary is the Median line of the lake based on principles of customary international law.

The High Level Mediation Team resolved that the two governments should consider how they can jointly exploit and share the resources found in Lake Malawi before establishing the position of the boundary between the two countries.

Lake Malawi which was discovered by missionary explorer David Livingstone over 150 years ago is home to over 800 endemic species including the Chambo fish.

Because of its rich fish harvest, the Lake plays an important part in the economy.

Politicians and Environmentalists are meanwhile tipping the Malawi government to borrow a leaf from founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda who declared the Lake Malawi boundary issue non negotiable.

President Peter Mutharika had towed a similar line before he assumed the presidency, but this flicker appears to have dimmed along the way.

He recently told delegates at the Pan African parliament in South Africa that African countries should honour boundaries that were set out long ago, during colonial times.

Tanzania has been claiming that it owns the northern part of the lake.

And Capital Hill is making it crystal clear that not an inch of the lake would be let go.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaira is not amused by the postponement of the mediation talks earlier in the month, on the account of Dodoma.

Neither is he pleased with Mwakasege’s sentiments that the two countries should equally share proceeds from the resources.

Kasaira’s ministry is currently planning on taking the issue to the international Court f Justice in The Hague.

Malawians are waiting for the day when the issue will be settled once and for all.


They are hoping the government would make its position clear and come out strongly on the matter.

Last modified on Friday, 19 May 2017 15:01

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