Activist Mfiti says Malawi oil exploration breaching international convention

Malawi risks being blacklisted for failure to comply International Conventions, according to an environmental activist in Southern Africa, Godfrey Mfiti who is also the Director of Institute of Sustainable Development in Malawi.

Mfiti: conscience and profession ethics have been defeated by the wave of political interference.

Mfiti: Conscience and profession ethics have been defeated by the wave of political interference.

Oil exploration in progress

Oil exploration in progress

Malawi being a state party to the 1972 world heritage convention has breached the convention by embarking on oil exploration on World Heritage property which is Lake Malawi National Park.

An oil and gas concession is awarded to RAKGAS to explore oil and gas on Lake Malawi including the National Park marine protected area.

Mfiti points out that this has contravened own legislation of Malawi enacted through Parliament. The 1993 Parks and Wildlife Act does not allow extraction and exploration on petroleum and minerals on protected areas.

The same process has flouted the 1998 SADC Protocol revised in 2000. The exploration of oil and gas has also flouted the Helsinki rules on shared waters.

Malawi is offered a deadline to respond to the UNESCO Reactive Mission Report which is on 31st November, 2015.

“Why is it that the civil servants not advise the executive? The main reason is that there conscience and profession ethics have been defeated by the wave of political interference. Any opposition to oil exploration will be deemed as working against the executive arm of government,” wondered Mfiti

So far the department of culture, wildlife, Tourism and that of Parks have proceeded to request government to withdraw the oil exploration process.

Politics of Oil Concessions on Lake Malawi

In 2011, Surestream was awarded an oil exploration license in north of Lake Malawi. RAKGAS was later awarded oil and gas concession for exploration in the southern part of Lake Malawi including world heritage site in 2013.

Surestream is claimed to be a UK based company and got the concession in 2011 during the reign of late Bingu Wa Mutharika. The concession was awarded without proper due diligence of the company.

In 2015 it has been found out that one of the former Counsel to the President, Z Allan Ntata is now a company secretary of Surestream and Rak Gas.

The Ex-Counsel is a barrister at law and during the time the concession was being awarded he did not declare conflict of interest. The position of an advisor to the President on Legal affairs is critical to the Presidency.

The current policy and legal framework is outdated and not suitable for oil exploration. Coincidentally, the then legal counsel to the President is now a company secretary to Surestream a company awarded a concession. RAKGAS a company that later a license to explore oil in the south of Lake Malawi has now acquired some shares in Surestream.

Breach of International Conventions

Oil Exploration on Lake Malawi and the Property contravenes the following: 1972 World Heritage Convention of Paris which Malawi ratified in 1982. 1998 Southern Africa Development Community (SADIC) Protocol revised in 2000

Lake Malawi National Park was declared a protected area in 1934 and was gazette in 1980. Later in 1984 was inscribed as world heritage natural site due to its unique beauty.

The 1992 National Park Act amended in 2002 which prohibits the exploration and extraction of oil and minerals in all protected areas.

The country’s out dated legal and policy framework is not ready for oil /gas exploration and extraction. The threats of oil/gas exploration and extraction on Lake Malawi’s biodiversity and outstanding universal values are huge than the benefits.

Extraction of oil and gas on Lake Malawi will affect over 1.5 million people along the lakeshore whose livelihood is dependent on the Lake.

The oil/gas exploration and extraction will benefit a few individuals and greedy

Lessons from other countries

Oil exploration activities in Ogoniland in the Niger delta of Nigeria has destroyed huge biodiversity and marine wildlife due to similar practices of rushing into exploration and extraction without stringent legal and policy framework.

Despite high revenues generated from oil only few politicians and businesses linked to politicians benefit from the proceeds.

In Ghana civil society have helped government to formulate policies and legislations suitable for oil exploration.

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progressing artist
Guest

This is to deceive us pretending that oil will come from the hills! wow! we all see that, do you know how important this lake is to poor people who depend on it? then they will desmbak from ths mountain heading to lake malawi, the lake malawi after the short period of time with no money to our people the lake will become the most waste lake in the World (like the stagnant water for mosquitoes and staffs”

Lee Kachoka
Guest

Wolemera?Kuteroku auzana kale ma billion odzapatsana mafuta ak ayamba kukha.Ife tidzingokuwa ngati mmene tinayambira muja.U fulu unadza 1964 mpaka lero tiku pemphabe.Zaka 50 kuphatikizapo dimokalase palibe chaphulidwa.Ti gawane bwino.Mafuta ndi Onsefe.

sir bentby
Guest

I approve exploration of oil in strong term, denying now means allowing to die poor, and keeping for the next generation to enjoy it. bcz like it or not, one day the oil will be explored. and if we say “not now” means the generation which will say yes let’s do, will be the one to enjoy.

nyasa boy
Guest

Inu akuluakulu tapangani retirement tilowepo ife tilibe nazo ntchito somba tikufuna makobidi mudziko

Manjawala
Guest

Just do it. Stop all this nonsence about destruction.

His excellence President MKango Lion Chisokonezo Manthakanjenjemereza
Guest

Though Nigeria destroyed environment it is rich. Why in Malawi are we perssimistic Tikumbe mafuta tilemere, zanyama ndi nsomba tatopa nazo. Mentality ya umphawi imeneyo

Moses
Guest

I never imagined oil exploration taking place on a mountain as depicted in the picture.

Ndaziona
Guest

I cry for my beloved country. I really don`t understand why politicians are not able to see the destruction of many livelihoods for Malawians – irrigation, fish production, water for domestic use, water for electricity generation, etc. What will be the effect on all this when the oil spills out of the lake? God does not really help us if we do not start to help ourselves. Listen for once please to the cries of the poor Malawians.

alekekuba
Guest

Allan Ntata also has nude pictures in circulation. Ben tazipeze uzaike pa nyasa times tizione

alekekuba
Guest

Is Ben Phiri behind this article. You two fools (Ben & Allan) stop fighting your wars in the media. You are men , just meet and use fists. Ife mukutinyansa!

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