I shall die for Malawi – President Banda

Malawi President Joyce Banda on Saturday made an emotional declaration that she shall die for the sake of her country, in what others see as a defiant insinuation to the threats of war by Tanzania on the ownership of Lake Malawi.

Speaking at a Ngoni traditional festival in the northern district of Mzimba on Saturday, Banda said emphatically in unrelated to the function: “I shall die for the people of Malawi. I shall die for the land of Malawi.”

The Malawi leader has not commented on the row with Tanzania.

Tanzania has been warmongering on the standoff over oil and gas exploration in Lake Malawi – also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.

But Malawi has been diplomatic on the issue and are arranging showdown talks on August 20.

President Banda arriving at the Ngoni function. Photo by Amanda Chiliro/Nyasa Times

The dispute of the third-largest fresh water resource in Africa has escalated because Tanzania is demanding Malawi to halt exploration activities granted to British company Surestream Petroleum for oil and gas. Surestream is currently conducting an environmental impact assessment.

Meanwhile, a history and political science lecturer at the Malawi Polytechnic, Simburashe Mungoshi suggests the dispute can only be resolved by compromise.

“When these boundaries were agreed upon by the British and Germans it was a give and take game,” said the lecturer on VOA.

“The British had to give up claims in some territories in Tanganyika area. Needless to say the Germans had also to give up. So in which case, if Tanzania wants a change in boundaries it would be a give and take. If they want something they must give something. Malawi is a land locked country; we need access to the sea. May be they could give us an equivalent piece of land to take us to the sea.”

Malawi insists the whole lake belongs to her and there is no way the country can halt oil and gas exploration.

A home to about 1,000 endemic species of fish Lake Malawi is located at the junction of Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. It sustains nearly 10 million people in these three countries.

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