Bullying: Exactly what Tanzania is to Malawi as Israel is to Palestine

Judging from history, territorial dispute is the worst thing that can ever develop between nations and states. It may be that easy to detect specific instances of territorial conflict but it is hard to stomach the geographical, political, and psychological havoc such conflicts cause. It is exactly this preceding statement that makes this author shudder at the mention of boundary misunderstanding between Malawi and Tanzania over Lake Malawi or Lake Nyasa as is known in Tanzania; all centering on territory.

Generally speaking, there are no strings of material or geographical similarities one, not even top-flight historian or anthropologist, can bring to the fore between Tanzania and Israel and between Malawi and Palestine. And yet, there sure are ideological similarities binding Tanzania and Israel and Malawi and Palestine.

Israel–the United States’ only beloved son in the Middle East–knows only the language of bullying when it comes to talking to Palestine. Many would be witnesses that the only time United States of America makes a statement on the overdue Israel-Palestine conflict is when it sees that circumstances are becoming rigged in favor of sitting target–Palestine. The example are just too numerous to mention but it is expected that the Palestinian bid for statehood would suffice here.lake map

The unfairness and the double standards of US–the world’s belligerent superpowers–are widely documented and largely discussed by foes and friends alike. It is thus common the moment the world hears US commenting on Israel-Palestine dispute is when Israel suffers a setback, and in this case always in favor of Israel; the increase in budgetary support, improved militarization, and all that.

On its part, the Palestinians look hoping some emerging power might come to sympathize with her. But alas! No one comes and on and on the suffering continues. Here and there they pull a political or military stunt or two, but the best they do is bleat about few squeaks of anger and accept the suffering as normal.

Now, the similarities between Tanzania and Israel and between Malawi and Palestine maybe just as obvious and unmistakably clear this time. It is greatly inspiring to note that Tanzania is the Israel and Malawi is the Palestine in the Tanzania-Malawi lake boundary dispute. The similarities are ideological.

So cut loose, Tanzania takes after Israel in that it has, within its core ideological orientation in the lake boundary issue, the bullying mentality. Malawi, also in its heart of hearts in the dispute, takes after Palestine by being silent and allow itself be bullied like a stray dog.

What annoys many people in the know is the sheer lack of direction manifested in the statements and actions of the Malawi government just like the Palestinian one. It is always dark politics and secret deal negotiations at play when it comes to winning sympathy in disputes bordering on territory especially where natural resources are an issue.

Surely, in politics of resources, it is not about peace but piece; it is not about bringing stability and progress to the affected countries but about what piece or share a mediating agent is going to cart home. That is the wisdom many African leaders are drinking; that is the wisdom Brother Leader Muamar Gaddafi long drunk, and that is the concoction Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe drunk not long ago.

The Tanzania-Malawi lake boundary would not be that of an issue were resources not the center of the dispute. It is resources at stake here and Tanzanians know it pretty better than us Malawians. No wonder the Tanzanians are drafting in every available diplomat, propagandist, and state wishing to reap some fortunes in the boundary dispute.

Little wonder that President Barack Obama has Tanzania as one country he will visit in his June 29-July 3 one-week African tour bringing with him senior-most officials to this country. Just last year, a delegation of US energy executives led by Johnnie Carson, visited Tanzania prospecting oil and gas.

Some Africans not connected to the lake in any way whatsoever are questioning the Obama visit to Tanzania, and sadly, yes sadly, no well-placed Malawi executive in government has questions for the Obama visit. As if the Obama visit is not enough, top Tanzanian diplomats are elsewhere reported to have confirmed that energy investments will be at the heart of the Obama Tanzania visit.

Whatever it is the Malawi government is doing on the lake border dispute between it and Tanzania, one thing is for sure true; Malawi leadership is doing nothing. Well, it may be that Malawi has faith in the international justice. But, this author observes that justice comes with a price–play the dark politics, talk tough, negotiate and re-negotiate your position with secret kingmakers the Israeli and Tanzanian way, and justice shall come your way, smiling.

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