Malawi, Tanzania file evidence on lake ownership to mediators

Malawi and Tanzania on Wednesday submitted their evidence and answers to some of the questions over the ownership of Lake Malawi to the members of the panel of mediators on the lake dispute between the two countries.

The mediators led by former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano, asked Malawi and Tanzania to answer a set of four questions when presenting their evidence and Malawi’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed that the country has answered the questions and made its submission on Wednesday.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Quent Kalichero said that Minister Ephraim Chiume was in Mozambique to present the written submission on the queries raised by the mediators.

“The Minister is making written comments to the mediators and he is currently in Mozambique,” said Kalichero.

Minister Chiume made written comments

Malawi’s questions included:

  • Whether Malawi agrees that there is a boundary along the lake between itself and Tanzania?
  • What is the legal implication of the absence of a ratification on the delimitation in Article 1 (2) of the 1890 Treaty in relation to the lake?
  • What is the legal implication of the acceptance by either party of the importance of the lake to the local population along the shoreline and their use of the lake?
  • Whether there are examples of cooperation between the parties in relation to the use of the lake?

The two country’s submission held in Mozambique capital Maputo comes after on Monday Tanzanian President Jakata Kikwete held talks with two of the mediators, former Presidents Joachim Chissano of Mozambique and Festus Mogae of Botswana in Dar es Salaam. Another mediator is former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Speaking after the meeting in Dar es Salaam, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Bernard Membe, told reporters that the talks between the mediators and President Kikwete went well and that Tanzania is poised to present its evidence as to its legitimate part ownership of Lake Nyasa.

He also confirmed that Tanzania would present its evidence on Wednesday to the Secretariat of the office of the forum of former SADC Heads of State which is chaired by Chissano.

Media reports in Tanzania indicate that Membe was present at the meeting along with the Minister of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development Prof Anna Tibaijuka as well as the Minister of State in the Tanaznian President’s Office for Special Duties Prof Mark Mwandosya.

Membe explained that both countries, Tanzania and Malawi, will submit their evidence and leave the work to the mediators who are expected to deliberate for up to one year.

SADC mediators Chissano and Mogae arrived in Tanzania on Sunday on a fact finding mission over the Lake Nyasa dispute as they did in Malawi in July this year.

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