Joyce Banda backs Mutharika on Lake Malawi wrangle with Tanzania: ‘Decision to take matter to Hague is spot on’

Immediate past-president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, who has been in a self imposed ‘exile’ since her election loss in 2014, has backed the decision by the government led by President Peter Mutharika to take the long running border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania concerning their lacustrine border to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague in Netherlands.

Politics aside, on Lake Malawi wrangle Joyce Banda backs Mutharika

.The dispute centres on Lake Nyasa, as it is known in Tanzania, or Lake Malawi as it is known in Malawi.

Tanzania government administrative map of regions and districts indicates that the border runs down the middle of the lake. Malawi’s interpretation is that all waters between Malawi and Tanzania are theirs.

Malawi’s claim is based on an 1890 treaty between Germany and the United Kingdom. After Tanganyika came under British control after World War I, the lake was administered from the Malawian side by British authorities. The border dispute has arisen more than once since independence, the first time being in 1967.

Tempers in the current dispute have been ebbing and flowing since started exploration activities on the lake.

Banda, who ruled Malawi from April 2012 to May  2014, told Tiuzeni Zoona programme on Sunday monitored from the private owned Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).

She stressed the whole Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi and supports the idea of taking the Lake dispute to the International Court of Justice  for determination.

“I don’t want to be dragged into any politics over the Lake dispute. Lake Malawi belongs to us. History supports us in totality. This is not the time to play politics over this matter. Let’s unite in defending what belongs to us,” the former President said.

“I am particularly concerned with the recent remarks by the Tanzania envoy seeking for their share on the oil exploration. This is a different matter all together, which means their claims for the Lake are on resources, which must not be entertained at all cost,” said Banda.

Recently , Tanzania come out clearly that it wants shares of the oil exploration proceeds in Lake Malawi. Through its envoy in Malawi, the north east border neighbor went further and postponed the negotiation talks, which were slated for May 8-9, 2017 in Johannesburg.

Banda said: “ It is unfortunate that while acknowledging that the lake belongs to us, Tanzania wants a share of the mineral resources therein.”

She said her administration resolved to take the matter to The Hague court  but former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete implored with the Malawi Government to give room for contact and dialogue.

”However, it is proving that our neighbours are not honest and committed to resolving this wrangle. Hence, I wish to commend President Mutharika and his government for the decision to take the matter to the ICJ.”

Therefore the much anticipated negotiation talks between Malawi and Tanzania, over the ownership of the Lake, will not be resolved any time soon.

The development disappointed the Malawi Government, considering the resolve President Peter Mutharika and his Tanzania counterpart, John Pombe Magufuli, made for the resumption of the mediation talks when they met ‪on January 30, this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The two leaders resolved that the mediation process on the Lake Malawi boundary dispute, be revived after a prolonged break since March 2014.

However, Malawi Government received communication on the postponement of the meeting from the High Level Mediation Team (HLMT) Chairperson, Joaquim Chissano, who is former President of the Republic of Mozambique.

The meeting’s postponement coincides with earlier accessions by Tanzania of its interest in oil exploration since 2012. At this time, Malawi’s north eastern border neighbor, started claiming that it owns half of the eastern part of Lake Malawi.

Malawi Foreign and International Cooperation minister, Francis Kasaila, expressed concerns over the pace of the talks, arguing that by now both nations could have known the fate on the matter.

Kasaila said that the Malawi Government intends to resolve the issue as soon as possible, consideration there are a number of development projects that are to take place on the Lake, including the oil exploration.

The Foreign Minister said Malawi Government position remains the same, that the boundary is the shoreline of Lake Malawi, as established by Article 1(2) of the 1890 Anglo-German Treaty; therefore Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi in its entirety. This is despite Tanzania claims that the boundary is the median line of the Lake, based on principles of customary international law.

President Mutharika in April, took the country’s concerns of Lake Malawi to the Pan-African Parliament meeting in South Africa. In his flagship address he quotes the 1890 Heligoland Treaty (between Germany and Great Britain – current U.K.), that declared the Lake belonging to Nyasaland (former name of Malawi). President Mutharika also invoked the agreement in the 1964 Organization of African Unity treaty that emerging independent nation-states on the continent entered into; in the treaty, new nation states, were called to respect colonial borders they inherited from the colonial rulers.

Mutharika said African countries have respected these treaties and therefore, called on his counterparts, to resist border disputes to bring disunity on the continent.



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10 thoughts on “Joyce Banda backs Mutharika on Lake Malawi wrangle with Tanzania: ‘Decision to take matter to Hague is spot on’”

  1. MNDAMBALA BOY says:

    Chakwera walankhulapo chani pa zimenezi? kwinakuso ndikukula mopusatu eti? i have gone through the story here but i didnt see where Chakwera has said something here, do you really know Chakwera as leader of opposition or you just hate him by your nature? Even if you ask mwana wa mng’ono pa nkhani ya mwini mwini he or she will tell you that lake Malawi is ours. Joice Banda has not politicize her statements which sounds very good to all of us, now your comments are political comments wakula ndi umbuli eti? Do you also know kuti Boma lizilongosoka ndi chifukwa chokhala ndi opposition yamphavu like we have to day? aaaaaaa osaonetsera pano ubulutuwu mwanva?

  2. KAKA says:

    If this is the change of things with Malawi Politics then really God is changing Malawi. Ndale zongotsutsa just for the sake of kutsutsa must go. Chakwera watch out. If you change too late you will be on an island alone. Joyce Banda JB you are beginning to convince me. I can note that she is different from enawa , akuti leader of opposition ndiye kumangotsutsa ndi zabwino zomwe . In that way you destroy Malawi and we can see you as enemy.

  3. Balaka says:

    Muluzi walakwanso chani abale? leave the old man alone.Malawi needs people like you Joyce banda not ze Chakweras

  4. bingu says:

    mataifa one deportation pliz coz tikufuna tivote so we want fresh air,thanks amai kumeneko ndekunganiza Malawi tigwilizane pano monga nation anthem inenera p p motooo

  5. Mika Kumbire says:

    For once Joyce Banda has impressed me by acting presidential. This is what Malawi needs, politics will not take us anywhere.

  6. pido says:

    Vuto la ndale za Muluzi zoshoshela mavuto a nzao

  7. Malawian says:


  8. Hlabezulu Ngonoonda says:

    This is good news. Mahenge, Kikwete, Bernard Membe and Magufuli will likely be pinned down by Malawian legal experts to produce a treaty signed by Great Britain and Germany that as per Tanzania’s claim the boundary is the median line of the Lake, based on principles of customary international law. Did these two countries really applied principles of customary international law when coming up with the Heligoland Treaty in 1890? Or this another 1884 Berlin Conference to demarcate Nyasaland in order to fulfill wishes of Nazi Tanganyika?

  9. Maunits says:

    Koma yaaaaa

  10. Mwana Wang'ona says:

    Let us leave politics aside. Timange dzikoli limodzi.

Comments are closed.

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