Malawi should not panic over Lake Malawi wrangle

A number of people have written about the wrangle between Malawi and Tanzania over the ownership of Lake Malawi on the northern part where Tanzania is claiming ownership. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the issue, some writing has bordered on irresponsibility while others have not been helpful at all.

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Some writers have even suggested that Tanzania can easily overrun Malawi should it decide to go war. War for what? Others are saying the SADC mediation team is unlikely to rule in favour of Malawi. Why speak for them and why speculate?   Others have suggested that Malawi should be proactive and go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

But wait a minute, who is claiming ownership? The aggrieved party should take the initiative to go to ICJ not the other way around. Malawi should not panic. Malawi has not doubted the ownership of the lake. Facts are solid that the 1890 Anglo-German Treaty gives Malawi total ownership of land in the north.

Tanzania’s vigorous claim of ownership of the lake has come about as a result of the oil prospecting in Lake Malawi. Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Malawi has minced no words that they are claiming part of the lake to share oil resources.  This claim is driven by greed. Even the 2016 Tanzanian map showing that it owns the northern part of the lake was a ploy to justify part ownership of the lake because they smelt ‘coffee’ in the lake. The new map was drawn without regard to original colonial international boundary between the two countries.

Apart from the treaty which gives Malawi total ownership of the lake, the Organisation of African Unity, the forerunner of African Union, made a decision in 1963 when the organisation was formed that the existing boundaries should be respected, meaning that boundaries should remain as they are.

Incidentally, former Tanzanian President the late Julius Mwalimu Nyerere was part of that decision. Surely, governments cannot be redrawing boundaries that were drawn by colonists over a century ago, and over 50 years when the two countries became independent.

The argument that the boundary should be in middle of the lake because that is how it is with Lake Victoria where Tanzania shares the boundary with Kenya and Uganda is flawed.  It does not apply to Malawi and Tanzania over Lake Malawi because the treaty demarcated where the boundary should be. There is no need to negotiate the boundary. Documents that show that the whole lake belongs to Malawi are there.

Minister of Information Nicholasi Dausi is right when he says “the whole negotiation thing was wrong because you do not negotiate with somebody something which is already yours.” It is also good that President Mutharika has declared that the whole lake belongs to Malawi at different fora including the 4th Pan-African Parliament in Jonesburg last February. Malawi should not have panicked and started negotiations.

Government should now utilise the lake as much as possible just to show that the lake belongs to Malawi. Let government buy boats and ferries to transport people and goods on the lake from Songwe in Karonga to Nkhata Bay all the way to Monkey Bay on either side of the lake.

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MW’S government should nt give on Da lake even if it going to war


Bravo Malawi. Long Malawi. That’s the kind of thinking and the proper standing of responsible Malawi. I have no more words to say. All l can say is Thank you for standing for our beloved nation. We are not tenants. This is our home. Viva Malawi.

Nosi Mphaka

This is true.You do not negotiate on a thing which is already yours.Malawi start using this part of the lake as it is yours.Pull out from these so called negotiation talks.It is all false


This is because I like 👍 DPP administration the fact is why we should negotiate things that belongs to us?

Peloma Pepe

Well-said, well-crafted @Lowani Mtonga. It’s my hope that many Nyasatimes reporters borrow a leaf from this quality of writing. Uku ndeee kulembatu, osati zinazi ma spelling error mbweeee! Well done Lowani Mtonga!

winston msowoya

Kadamanja,comeon be educated. When did Malawians create Lake Nyasa/Lake Malawi? The lake has been there for billions of years before humans were created by God.Please have cool minds and leave the lake for all of us sons and daughters of GOD!!!!!!!


AAnalakwitsa zonsezi ndi Amayi

This is a write up for a patriot. we made a mistake by starting negotiating with someone who wants to snatch our own lake. we are not the aggrieved party in essence we are not supposed to attend these negotiations. Start utilising the lake to the fullest as our lake .if Tz with its belligerent behaviour towards us continues that’s the time to flex our muscles. Israel is a very small country surrounded by enemies but all fear it. So size of the country is not synonymous to military might. If they are ready we will retake most of their… Read more »

the lake is ours no further discussion long live malawi.

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