Malawi upbeat to win lake border row with Tanzania

Malawi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ephraim Mganda Chiume, said Lilongwe have all kinds of evidence to ensure that they win the lake border row with Tanzania.

The border row, which is more than 40 years old, resurfaced after Malawi discovered oil in the lake.  The dispute has soured relations between the two countries and delayed exploration for oil and gas.

Chiume said on Monday in Lilongwe after he officially opened a two- day Southern AfricanDevelopment Community (SADC) Council of Ministers meeting that the two parties are expected to meet from 20th to 21st of this month in Mozambique to discuss submissions and responses that were submitted by the two countries.

“We are confident because we know we have a very robust case,” Chiume told reporters.

Chiume: Malawi has  a very robust case
Chiume: Malawi has a very robust case

“We also have solid legal team of seasoned players and professionals and in addition, we have included historians and academicians to be part of the team so Malawians should not worry,” he added.

Malawi claims sovereignty over the entire Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest, based on the Helgoland Treaty, a colonial relic, while Tanzania claims under international law it is entitled to over 50 percent of the Lake known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.

In its submission to the Southern African Development Community’s Forum of Former African Heads of State, Malawi said the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) or legal instruments addressing trans-boundary watercourses are invalid arguing that the Anglo –German treaty of 1890 on which most borders in Africa are based has the overall authority.

Malawi also questioned the legitimacy of the 1890 treaty could have grave consequences for regional stability saying even countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, DRC and Tanzania, Tanzania and Zambia, Ivory Coast and Togo and boundaries in the Lake Chad are based on the same treaty.

Chiume has promised peaceful but steady results so that the two countries continue to co-exist in a peaceful environment.

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