In yet another display of the strained relations that exist between the Malawi and the Mozambican Governments, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has been ordered to remove poles which it misguidedly planted on Mozambican soil.
The poles are being erected from Mwanza headquarters to the border area of Thambani.
ESCOM officials confirmed the development.
This will delay the installation of the power lines which was expected to be completed in December and has left the people of Thambani and surrounding areas in Mwanza whose expectations to have electricity in the near future were high, dejected.
According to the district commissioner for Mwanza, Smart Gwedemula, the Mozambican authorities on several occasions warned Malawi to remove the electricity lines because they illegally passed through sovereign territory.
ESCOM reportedly installed the power lines on Mozambican soil “unknowingly” and will remove them at great expense in three weeks time.
True to the adage that it never rains but pours for Malawi under the leadership of President Mutharika, this is not the first spat between the two countries under the Mutharika regime.
In Mwanza and Nsanje, Mozambique has stopped Malawian farmers from cultivating across the border.
In 2010 the Mozambicans embarrassed President Bingu wa Mutharika in the presence of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Zambia’s Rupiah Banda by impounding a barge that was to signify the opening of the much-touted sea route to the Indian Ocean, the Shire-Zambezi Waterway, on the grounds that no proper feasibility study had been conducted.
It remains to be seen what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Prof Peter Mutharika, is doing to normalize relations between these two countries that share a lot more than just common borders.