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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18 thoughts on “Activist Mfiti says Malawi oil exploration breaching international convention”

  1. progressing artist says:

    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”

  2. Lee Kachoka says:

    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.

  3. sir bentby says:

    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.

  4. nyasa boy says:

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

  5. Manjawala says:

    Just do it. Stop all this nonsence about destruction.

  6. 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

  7. Moses says:

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

  8. Ndaziona says:

    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.

  9. alekekuba says:

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

  10. alekekuba says:

    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!

  11. Gwede says:

    Vuto lake munthu akufotokozayo ndi mfiti ndiye ndipovuta kuti timukhulupilile

  12. Geo says:

    @Mfiti the fact that you did not succeed in studying geology (weeded) @UNIMA should’nt make you leader of opposition in mineral exploration.

  13. Wawani says:

    You politicians leave the lake alone. We dont have any trust in you guys looking at how you have been handling the Kayerekera issue. Mukungofuna kukhutisa mimba zanu apa.

  14. Zanga Phee! says:

    This is the right time now for civil society to join hands and take to task to all these concerned parties it is not too late.It is not even clear on the dispute of Lake Malawi.The visiting of the outgoing president to Malawi was not the solution we need proper documentation on this issue where by it shall be used even for the next generations.It it is not clear when will the committee review their findings in accordance.The organization should also take to task this committee because it’s high time now.See my name.

  15. peter muthanyula says:

    Zayambika. No wonder most countries fight because of oil. Tiphana very soon

  16. mtumbuka 1 says:

    I concur with msowaya’s view who commented here. The revenues from the prospects of the so called oil will never benefit anybody on the country side as politicians will be busy scrambling for it. We have kayerekera mine which we hoped would change the lives of the poor masses both here in the north and the country at large but the obvious happened,these corrupt politicians are the ones who benefits and the common man still basks in a pool of poverty. It does not make any sense to continue exploring for the so called oil while the revenues will not help to change the lives of poor Malawians. We have one of the most beautiful lakes in the world in lake Malawi and this useless government full of dunderheads ought to know better and preserve this gorgeous piece of fresh water other than conniving with the west to come and take away our wealth. No African company can have balls enough to try and open a mine in Europe (even if it is Patrice motsepe of south Africa)cos they preserve those minerals for their future generations and why don’t we as Africans do the same? Few officials in government are palm oiled by these western companies to buy a ticket to our natural resources. Look at Nigeria,on paper they have plenty oil and a big economy but poverty levels are alarming and people are unbelievably poor while the imf regards them a large economy in Africa and that’s putting a sweet in a baby’s mouth unwrapped(with its plastic) and when the baby crises for the taste the guy say don’t cry I put sweet in your mouth and that’s the case with the west so manipulative. So hands off lake Malawi for goodness sake!

  17. Winston Msowoya says:

    For God’s sake leave the lake alone.If you have no economic and political notions to lead the nation to prosperity,you can as well pack up and go to hell.The leadership must recognize that as soon as oil platforms are erected on lake malawi/ lake nyasa,the ramifications would be egregious environmentally which will drastically change the lives of millions of our people for ever.Right now we have the problems of Mchenga coal mine and Kayeyekera mine both of which are located in Nyikaland and the revenues are shipped back to Pakistan and Europe.The history of oil industry in Africa has been tragically infamous in the sense that the overwhelming majority of our people have been sidelined and the minority leadership,controls the lion’s share.Malawians must not at any cost,jump into this band wagon as it will not carry them into prosperity.The vivid instance is Nigeria,whereby the oil revenue about 99.9 percent go to individuals in high positions and their buddies.We have seen it recently in Nigeria when gas stations were completely dry.Mind you,Nigeria is the fourth largest oil producer nation in the world and yet,millions of Nigerians are found every where in the world looking for greener pastures.I bet there are a good number in Malawi too.If Botswana could emerge victoriously from colonial yoke,why can’t Malaw?

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