Lake Malawi dispute: Pres. Banda gives mediation team Sept 30 deadline

President Joyce Banda has told two former African presidents leading the mediation between Malawi and Tanzania over the Lake Malawi border dispute that if they fail to reach a decision on the matter by 30 September 2013, she will take the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Malawi’s President on Sunday told former presidents Joachim Chissano of Mozambique and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that her country will not accept any interim deal on the disputed boundary of Lake Malawi with neighbouring Tanzania until the wrangle is settled once and for all.

The Malawi Head of State said she invited the team of mediators to get an update on the matter as Malawians are anxious to know.

“The lake dispute is an issue that is affecting the young and the old, regardless of race and political affiliations hence my call so that the people of Malawi should get an update,” she told the mediators.

Malawi President Joyce Banda and former presidents Chissano and Mbeki -mediators  of the lake dispute
Malawi President Joyce Banda and former presidents Chissano and Mbeki -mediators of the lake dispute

Banda also expressed worry over Tanzania’s recent statements.

“Your excellencies, allow me to express my concern about Tanzania’s recent provocative statements about deploying boats on the lake,” said Banda adding that such remarks cause fear among Malawians.

She asked the forum to urge Tanzania to stop making such statements.

Banda reiterated Malawi’s position on the matter that the entire lake belongs to Malawi.

“Malawi’s position is that we own the entire lake, except for a portion ceded to Mozambique in 1954 for mutually beneficial reasons. The law clearly supports that position,” she said.

Chissano said his team would take Malawi’s concerns to Tanzania and pledged to seek a solution within three months.

Malawi pulled out of talks on the issue in October, accusing its northern neighbor of intimidating its fishermen, a charge Tanzania denied.

“President Banda, we have heard your concerns and be assured that the team will work hard to resolve the issue, we advise that you still not make any comments regarding the lake issue and we will ask Tanzania of the same,” he said.

Malawi awarded an exploration licence to British-based Surestream Petroleum to search for oil in Lake Malawi, which is known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.

The meeting was attended by different opposition parties form left Kubwalo, Chaponda, Chisano, President Banda, mbeki & John Tembo at Kamuzu Palace-pic by Lisa Vintulla
The meeting was attended by different opposition parties form left Kubwalo, Chaponda, Chisano, President Banda, mbeki & John Tembo at Kamuzu Palace-pic by Lisa Vintulla
Opposition chief John Tembo (right) joined by cabinet ministers at the meeting
Opposition chief John Tembo (right) joined by cabinet ministers at the meeting
Opposition leaders Dr George Chaponda and Joseph Kubwalo attended the meeting
Opposition leaders Dr George Chaponda and Joseph Kubwalo attended the meeting

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