Malawi opposition throws its weight behind govt on lake border dispute with Tanzania

Opposition parties in the country have agreed to work with Government on Malawi/ Tanzania boarder dispute, saying that government is handling the issue with maturity.

Leader of Opposition in the house, John Tembo said as opposition they will not allow even a small portion of Malawi to be taken by other countries.

“This issue was done away by British and Germany who signed a treaty in [1880] who, then, colonized our countries (Malawi and Tanzania) respectively and there is no need for us to be discussing it now,” Tembo told Malawi News Agency.

“Late President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania in 1964 also said in Cairo, Egypt, that all African countries should respect the boarders existing on their achievement of national independence,” he said.

Tembo: We will not allow Lake Malawi to be taken even by a small portion

Concurring with Tembo, Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) Leader in the house, George Chaponda said they will be following the issue with interest and asked government to continue monitoring the issue concerning Lake Malawi, so that fishermen are not harassed.

“We are happy that all the countries (Malawi and Tanzania) have also agreed to resolve the matter before it could be taken to the International Court of Justice,” said Chaponda.

Delivering a ministerial statement in Parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Internal Cooperation, Ephraim Mganda Chiume said the entire Lake Malawi is Malawi territory and the only exception to this concerns that the part of the lake lies within the territory of Mozambique.

“Malawi does not apply on the international common law which says that whenever two countries are bordered by a body of water, the boundary should be in the middle of the lake because of the treaty that clearly defines the boundary,” said Chiume.

Chiume added: “The concern of 1964, voiced by Tanzania President Nyerere, remains a concern today.

“The sanctity and stability of the boarders across our continent rests on respect for this principle of the recognition of the boarders inherited at independence.”

He also said as a country there is no record indicating that at any point in time the British and Germany ever agreed to do the rectification on the border.

Chiume further said the Organization of African Unity (OAU) resolution was codified in the OAU charter and subsequently carried over into the African Union (AU), being codified in the Constitutive Act of the AU.

The Anglo-German Agreement of 1890 addresses the boarders between Malawi and Tanzania and boarders far beyond the two states such that maintaining the stability of its terms is a matter of importance beyond the two countries, added Chiume.

Former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa also reaffirmed that Tanzania had no basis for claiming part of the Lake Malawi.

Malawi and Tanzania have been in three series of discussion from July this year to resolve the issue.

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