The lake is for Malawi to lose: Tanzania wants part of it because of the oil exploration activities

 Malawi needs to be proactive and not just reactive on the Lake Malawi boundary wrangle with its north-eastern neighbour, Tanzania. But while I am on this, let me warn that resorting to wresting the part of the lake Tanzania claims is its territory will only worsen the matter. To be brutally frank, and without underrating our military prowess, Malawi will be the bigger casualty in any military undertaking with Tanzania. Tanzania, geographically bigger than Malawi—is no match for us military-wise

 Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

To begin with, we need the lake more than Tanzania needs the part they are claiming to belong to them. Unlike Tanzania, which also has lakes Victoria and Tanganyika and a long seashore on the Indian Ocean, Lake Malawi is our only biggest water resource body spanning all the three regions. As a result its economic importance to Malawi cannot be overstated.

We need the lake for transport purposes—which to say the least—we have underutilised. The lake’s fish resources are an economic lifeline for 90 percent of the people along the lakeshore who subsist as fishermen. Take away the lake and see what would become of people in Karonga, Nkhata Bay, Likoma and Chizumulo, part of Rumphi, Nkhotakota, Salima, Mangochi. In short, the lake is actually synonymous with their  livelihood.

At national level, Lake Malawi is the main source of water for the Shire River, which is again the source of 90 percent of our hydro-electricity from Nkula, Tedzani and Kapichira hydro-power stations.

Agriculturally, Illovo and Dwangwa Sugar company—probably the country’s biggest employers—depend on water bodies from the Shire and Lake Malawi, respectively. And if we had visionary leaders, they would long have transformed lakeshore districts into breadbaskets for the entire country producing rice, maize and cassava.

Blantyre Water Board’s main source of water—Walker’s Ferry—is the Shire River (whose main source of water is Lake Malawi), meaning that the whole Blantyre city and parts of Chiradzulu and Thyolo are serviced by the Shire River.

As a tourist destination—which again I must state we have grossly underdeveloped—Lake Malawi’s importance cannot be overstated, contributing a good percentage to the tourism’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In short, Lake Malawi’s importance should not be something any caring government should only talk about when there are no elections in the country. In Tumbuka we would have said navyose vyamthengere.

If truth be told, since 2014 the DPP-led government has been in a power-drunken stupor on this important issue and is only being awakened now that Tanzania has published maps showing part of the eastern part of the lake as belonging to them.

Going to war with Tanzania over the lake would be foolhardy (Uchindere wakufikapo). They have both the military and economic might to annihilate us within a short period of time. They can squeeze us by closing off the Dar es Salaam port facility through which Malawi imports about 20 percent of its cargo, including fuel.

With the issues I have outlined above, not even the elections should have stopped us from getting the mediators to continue the talks. Why should everything else come to a standstill when there are elections? After all, it has been two years and six months since Malawi held its elections and one year since Tanzania went to the polls. The problem on the part of Malawi is the ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ mentality. In Tumbuka they say Uyo wakoleka na pamoyo ndiyo wakujura kumulyango. It is naïvity at its worst that the Malawi government only wants to do something when Tanzanians are on the offensive. That is not the way to go. Government should quickly get this issue to a logical conclusion.

It is a well-known fact that Tanzania wants half of the eastern part of the lake because of the oil exploration activities underway in the lake. And it is unlikely that the Sadc mediators—led by Mozambique former president Joachim Chissano—will side with Malawi on the issue, the Anglo-Heligoland Treaty notwithstanding. That is why it is important for Malawi to be proactive and take the issue to the International Court of Justice. That part of the lake is for Malawi to lose

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21 thoughts on “The lake is for Malawi to lose: Tanzania wants part of it because of the oil exploration activities”

  1. Winston Msowoya says:

    NJOMBWA BWANA,you must be suffering from unknown malady.You can not compare your idiot Mathanyula with President Khama in the sense that he is running the best economy in the whole of Africa,while your fellow rat-eater Peter runs the poorest economy in the continent.Khama is running a corrupt-free democratic country,while your fellow Lomwe Peter,runs the most corrupt government in Africa,Khama runs a non-tribalistic nation,while Peter runs a regime based on ethnical lines.The English spoken by Peter is full of jargon that is why he was fired from the Washington State University,USA,because the students could not comprehend what he was teaching.In short,he is a half-wit Professor who has tragically failed to lead our country.Njombwa Bwana,think before you write your nonsense.

    1. Njombwa Bwana says:

      Iwe Winston. Learn to read between the lines and follow the argument. My point was that regardless of not having tertiary education, they are better presidents than APM.

  2. Winston Msowoya says:

    BRAVO MWANA WA KWITHU STEVEN NHLANE!!! Your narration has aroused my admiration.It is a fact that the majority of Malawians have been intoxicated with Banda’s hallucination hence,their weakness in judgements,this is frustration beyond comprehension.We must be educated here, let’s not fool our selves that if war breaks out between Malawi and Tanzania,Malawi will win the war,that is totally fallacy.Afterall,Malawi has never been at war since independence apart from Mwanza-Neno conflict between Malawi Armed Forces helped by South Africa’s Boer Armed Forces against Yatuta Chisiza’s highly trained freedom fighters.According to reliable sources, the Malawi Government has never revealed any information pertaining to the conflict,Yatuta Chisiza and his highly trained fighters inflicted heavy casualties against Malawi Armed Forces and their Boer mercenary fighters.The present Lake conflict is man-made in the sense that Muthalika has totally failed to run the government,so he wants to shift the playing ground and that is the LAKE NYASA FiASCO.Malawians,Wakeup,for how long you will be mentally enslaved by your useless leaders? You must be informed that Lake Nyasa or whatever you want to call it,belongs to all Africans,God created this lake billions of years ago for human race and not for Malawians only,you are lost my friends and you might loose the whole of it because you can not win militarily against one of the most strongest Armies in the Continent.Lake Nyasa belongs to Tanzania,Malawi,Mozambique and Africa just as Lake Victoria which is accommodating Uganda,Tanzania and Kenya and indeed,the whole of Africa.What we are seeing to day,is Muthalika’s inability to lead our nation,and that he underrates the strength and will of the Tanzanian patriotic people.Muthalika frankly,is not fighting for the interests of the Malawian people,but he fights for his own and his surrogates who have already stashed billions of Kwacha (Millions of Dollars) in foreign Bank Accounts,he and his sarrogates,have nothing to loose,we must not loose our lake,the life-blood of our survival.Finally,if Tanzania and Malawi engaged in an armed conflict,I urge my fellow Northerners to allign themselves with the Tanzanian brothers and sisters.Right now,there are more than 500.000 Malawian Northerners living in Tanzania and myriad of them,illegally,but The Tanzanian authorities,very well know about it,but regard these people as their brothers and sisters.We Malawians in diasporas,support Tanzanians under the patriotic leadership of President Magufuli to defend their unflinching birth rights.Lake Nyasa belongs to no one country,but to Africa.WAKEUP NORTHERNERS AND DEFEND YOUR BIRTH RIGHTS MALAWI IS FOR US TOO!!!! THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES.

  3. Joloza says:

    Nhlane you are a Coward. We don’t fear taifas…let them try…if Idi Amin didn’t step on the foot of Israel Tanzania would have been Uganda today

  4. GONANI says:

    The earthquakes and tremors which have befallen Tanzania are just the beginning of the many catastrophic events which are to come and be faced by them if they stupidly want to go ahead, falsely claiming part of our waters. God has always fought our battles, and this will not be the last time. A wave of sickness and economic catastrophy will follow and so on. By the time M D F will be involved Tanzania will have already been reduced to pulp. Just watch it, my fellow patriots.

    1. Njombwa Bwana says:

      Hahaha! With such thinking are you surprised that we are the poorest of the poor in world?

  5. Thomas Taimu says:

    All the reasons given in this article as justification for Malawi needing the lake more than Tanzania are not convincing. Malawi does not need the lake for herself inorder to use it for transport nor for fishing and neither for irrigation. Malawi does not need any justification for its claims to the whole of the lake where it shares borders with Tanzania because its just a fact that the lake is Malawi’s since history and there is documentation for that. So i dont see any need for justifying the claim by giving lame reasons

    1. Njombwa Bwana says:

      History is history. We are in the present. Same argument can be used for Lake Tanganyika. Just because Tz was called Tanganyika then when it became Tanzania the lake should have changed to Lake Tanzania!!!

      Have you ever heard, “correcting historical wrongs” You can’t continue with a wrong just because it is historical therefore it must be right.A lie repeated over a long period is misconstrued as the truth until someone corrects it.

      If history is all what is needed then let the waters continue with their historical name “Nyasa” That is what it was called historically.Let call it Lake Nyasa because that is how it was called historically.

      The benefits and reasons for having the boundary in the middle far outweigh having shoreline boundary.

  6. mchisala says:

    The lake is for all people of the lakeshore districts including the districts in Tanzania! A country with intentions to explore and exploit any possible oil or gas on a freshwater lake does not deserve a lake!

  7. Ntchona says:

    Are you surprised our politicians are typical politician who will care when there is gain on their persona

  8. Falklands says:

    Steven Nhlane-your line of thought is gravely flawed on MDF’s military prowess. You only got it right on economic losses we may incur with regard to Dar-Es salaam port and our under utilisation of the lake. You do not have moral grounds to underrate MDF’s skills and tactical ability. It is not your domain. Your line of thought -????? Probably that is why you were fired as presidential secretary. Having fighter jets and amphibian vehicles is half the story. See how soldiers from that country you are praising are faring in DRC- as compared with my skillful brothers! I am very proud of them. Bear this in mind, we will defend successfully when attacked. You wanted MDF to tell you plans they have in store in case of the inevitable? Remember a bad carpenter blames his own tools. See how many fighter jets have crushed in their own country. You will recall how they fared against Uganda in the 70s when Idi Amin was at his lowest ebb. Please do a thorough research before commenting or posting articles on social media which has global audience.

    1. Njombwa Bwana says:

      It would make sense if you went to war over an island. It would be stupid to fight over water because no one can occupy it. As it is the water in the lake is low. It means Tz border is moving towards Malawi – if the border is on Tz shore.

      Wake up Malawi. Let swallow the bitter pill and accept that the border is in the middle of the lake. Tz will not change the map and international community will be on their side. Forget the stupid Heligoland treaty.

      1. Your Neighbor says:

        Stupid Njombwa Bwana. This forum is for Malawians and not you stupid Tanzanians.

      2. Your Neighbor says:

        Go away with your sorry English, stupid taifas!

        1. Njombwa Bwana says:

          Is that all you can say? Kuthedwa nzeru kumeneko. I can asure you that APM knows the resolutions of mediators. Let wait for him to show us his teeth and claim that the whole lake belongs to Malawi. Remember the statement released by the mediators in 2013/14. They said Tanzania and Malawi should share the resources of the lake like water etc. Read in between the lines.

          The stupidity of us Malawians is that we think writing or speaking good English is and indication of intelligent. Put Muthalika, Khama and Zuma in the same room and tell us who will make intelligent statements. Khama and Zuma don’t even have MCE.

  9. Falklands says:

    Steven Nhlane-your line of thought is gravely flawed on the prowess of MDF. You only got it right on the economic loss with regard to significance of Dar-Esalaam port. You do not have moral grounds to undermine MDF’s skills and tactical ability. It’s not your domain. Having fighter jets and amphibian vehicles is half the story. Remember a bad carpenter blames his own tools. See how that country’s soldiers you are praising are faring in DRC- as compared to my skillful brothers. I am very proud of them. See how many fighter jets have been downed in their own country. You will recall how that country fared against Uganda in the 70s when Idi Amin was at his lowest ebb. It will do you better to do a thorough research before commenting or posting articles on social media which is global for fear of misinforming the general public.

  10. Njombwa Bwana says:

    There is no substane in this post. The reality is the Tz people along the shore equally need watet, transport, fish and any resource that is available in the water that touch their shores. Whether Tz has other shared lakes or Indian ocean is neither here or there.

    Lake Tanganyika is shared by by 4 countries, Burundi, Zambia, DRC and Tanzania. Lake Victoria is shared by 3 countries.

    Infact it was legally wrong for Malawi to have renamed Lake Nyasa. That anomaly was ignored because of cold war. If a person looks at any international map, one clearly notices that the ‘border’ on the Tz side is dashed meaning it has always been disputed and it is not internationally accepted. All accepted borders are solid lines.

    It is us Malawians who are arrogant and ignorant. No wonder we constructed Nsanje slab and our attache was arrested peddling in foreign waters just to publicise a farce called port opening.

    The only negotiations is for Malawi to beg Tx to continue using the name Lake Malawi. The border will eventually be in the middle of the lake and that will be a solid line. No international map shows a solid line border between Mw and Tz.

    I can bet my life that the 4 former presidents concluded that Tz owns part of the lake. Malawi is losing a lot by claiming to own the whole lake. Forget about explorations. They have nothing to do with Tz claiming its share.

    We were lucky that Nyerere was a true statesman. In those early years of African self determination, the last thing on his mind was for Africans to have border conflicts. However he knew Tz would eventually claim its proper border with Malawi.

    For those who know history. Did anyone get killed, went into exile or get imprisoned during Nyerere rule? He was one true African who had the interest of fellow Africans, his country and the continue. Which African president stepped down at relatively young age and went into farming in a rural area? Africa should honour Nyerere!

    1. Your Neighbor says:

      I know you, Njombwa Bwana. You are not a Malawian but Tanzanian. And I know currently you are not in Tanzania. I know exactly where you are and what you eat. This is Malawian forum. I don’t know what you are doing here. Stop this! A month ago you were in Dar es Salaam, is this what you advised your illiterate president?

      1. Njombwa Bwana says:

        Not all Malawians support everything just because it is for Malawi. Present your facts which can convince the world. Where else in the world does this stupidity play out? Lake means water – not land or island. If the lake dries up where will the border be? Use common sense. Don’t even think. Mozambique rightly has its portion – why do you think Tz can forego their portion?. Wake up and smell the coffee. We are no longer in cold war era or west versus east shenanigans.

  11. Chipapwiche says:

    While you may have presented ‘good’ arguments, I don’t think you are right on underrating our Defence Force. This is being so unpatriotic Steve. I think our Defence Force is capable of defending the country and its interests. How do you measure military strength? So,this is what you want the world to know that our army can’t stand Tanzania? So,you want Tanzania to read your article and conclude that we are afraid of it? It is not we want war with Tanzania, but if it so happens,I have trust in our army. Be patriotic and responsible enough in your writing….

  12. alukosyo says:

    We lack seriousness. We don’t need oil exploration on the lake. STOP THIS MADNESS. Malawi and TZ must work together in preserving this God given treasure. We can look at other avenues of getting rich than destroying this fresh water lake

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