Communities in Karonga—spearheaded by Karonga Forum for Oil and Gas and Karonga for Youth and Justice (KYJD)—have vowed to fight HAMRA Oil, a company that is currently studying whether or not there is oil on Lake Malawi.
The communities say they do not want a repeat of what happened with Kayerekela Uranium Mine where they “got nothing.”
In a sentence, the communities want a blue-print of what they will get in return as social corporate responsibility from HAMRA.
Also, the communities accuse HAMRA of double standards.
“They engaged us as Karonga Forum for Oil and Gas to do sensitization that what will happen is going to be off-shore drilling but we are shocked now that they are back with on-shore drilling talk,” Wavisanga Silungwe, secretary of the Forum told Nyasa Times.
Apparently, human rights activist Undule Mwakasungula, a community sensitization specialist for HAMRA, worked with Silungwe’s Forum in engaging communities on the matter.
Silungwe admitted the sensitization, financed by HAMRA, cost K1.4 million. But Silungwe said they were surprised as a Forum that while it was off-shore talk then, it is on-shore now.
In an interview, Mwakasungula referred Nyasa Times to Grain Malunga, a former mines minister and expert also working for HAMRA.
“I am a community mobilization person. I will be lying to you if I commented more on these issues. Talk to [Grain] Malunga,”said Mwakasungula.
And Malunga said there was no oil yet in Lake Malawi.
Said Malunga: “There is no oil yet. You need to do what we call a seismic study before you can determine whether there is oil or not. That is when issues of social corporate responsibility come in.”
Malunga insisted “there is no oil yet in Lake Malawi.”
Nevertheless, vocal social activist and political commentator who has spoken against the issues of relocating Dzaleka Refugee Camp to Karonga, Kayerekela Uranium Mine and the naming of the Karonga-Chitipa Road after late President Bingu wa Mutharika, Stevenson Simusokwe, warned they are going to hold a vigil in solidarity with Karonga Forum for Oil and Gas.
“We have given them ten days for government to call off this nonsense or we will protest,”said Simusokwe. “We have tents and all support from our people and everyone is going to be there.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :