Malawi President, opposition leaders discuss Tanzania dispute

Malawi President Joyce Banda on Monday met leaders of various political parties at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre in second round of consultative meeting on the border wrangle with Tanzania, Nyasa Times learnt.

State House press officer Brian Banda confirmed when asked by Nyasa Times that the meeting took place and included Leader of Opposition John Tembo representing MCP,  Dr. George Mtafu and Friday Jumbe (UDF), Kamlepo Kalua (MDP), Gwanda Chakuamba (NRP), Mark Katsonga Phiri (PPM), Kamuzu Chibambo (Petra) and George Nnensa (Mafunde) .

“The President briefed opposition leaders on the Lake Malawi border negotiations with Tanzania and about discussions she had with her Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete during the Sadc meeting in Mozambique,” the press officer said.

Banda said the Malawi leader recognised the need to consult opposition leaders on matters of national interest, saying they have a role to play.

President Banda and leader of opposition John Tembo

He however said the meeting was cordial and opposition members were “pleased” to be consulted and share their inputs.

Tembo could not disclose what they had discussed saying it was for the consumption of the leaders present at the meeting only.

But he expressed satisfaction with the “refreshing approach” by the leadership to consult them.

Nyasa Times understands that President Banda informed the leaders that Malawi and Tanzania failed to agree after their recent talks recently.

She told the leaders that Malawi government’s position is that the boundary dispute has to be determined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The opposition reportedly unanimously backed government’s position since the matter is legal in nature.

Tanzania media reported that Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete speaking in his end-of-the-month-address to his country, that the Anglo-German Treaty of 1890 that gave Malawi the sole ownership of Lake Malawi was flawed and Tanzania has every reason to demand this be corrected.

Kikwete said the Heligoland Treaty—an agreement between then colonial powers Germany and Britain—denies Tanzanians living on the shores of Lake Malawi “their given right to utilise proximate water and marine resources to earn their daily living”

He argued that the treaty is erroneous because it contravenes international law that requires states to share adjoining water resources.


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