BY Fredrick Ngugi, 12:00pm September 09, 2016,

Malawi Angered by Tanzania’s Lake Malawi Claims

Fishermen at work on Lake Malawi. Collins Mopao Blog

The Malawian government has expressed its displeasure with what it calls Tanzania’s misleading allegation that it owns part of Lake Malawi, according to Nyasa Times.

Malawi’s Chief Secretary George Mkondiwa informed the country’s controlling officers on Wednesday to ignore any “propaganda” by Tanzania and desist from using any document bearing claims to any portion of Lake Malawi.

“Malawi will never, and has never, at any time, acquiesced to Tanzania’s unwarranted and unjustified territorial claims,” Mkondiwa said.

This announcement comes a few days after Tanzania published a map with newly created boundaries, showing that a portion of Lake Malawi, which is rich in oil and gas, is on the Tanzanian side.

Decades-Old Argument

For many years, Malawi and Tanzania have been involved in a tussle over the boundaries on the lake, with Tanzania putting forward claims to almost half of the lake. However, Malawi maintains that all waters between Malawi and Tanzania are theirs.

Malawi bases its claims to the lake on a treaty entered between Germany and the United Kingdom, after the region was invaded in 1890.

But after World War I, when Tanganyika came under British control, British authorities began administering the lake from the Malawian side.

The border dispute has been going on since 1967, with neither of the two countries showing signs of yielding.

The vendetta was revived in 2012, when Surestream, a U.K.-based oil exploration company, was awarded a license by the government of Malawi to carry out exploration activities around Lake Malawi.

Since then, there have been several attempts to bring the two countries together, but the efforts have been unfruitful. In fact, the 2014 mediation talks — chaired by former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano — collapsed after the two factions disagreed on several legal issues.

During the talks, President Chissano wanted the two nations to agree to share the lake and work out a plan to solve the existing border demarcation issues, but until now, no substantial progress has been made.

Surveying activities have been ongoing over the last seven years by Syracuse University of the United States, and both governments hope a lasting solution will be found.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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