Mfiti warns on Lake Malawi oil exploration: RAKGAS yet to conduct environmental assessment

Environmental activist Godfrey Mfiti has maintained that  exploration and drilling of oil on Lake Malawi should not be rushed until the country put enabling legislation to govern the country’s natural resources.

Environmental activist Mfiti (right) interviews fisherman along Lake Malawi on the prospects of oil drilling

Mfiti, who is also a senior official at Wild and Environmental Society of Malawi (Wesm), said licences government awarded to oil exploration companies were based on an archaic law of 1983, which lacked mechanisms on how government could enforce the law on investors that are not satisfying the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Malawi government, through the Ministry of Mines, issued about 200 licences for mining and exploration on Lake Malawi, among others.

RAKGAS, one of the company’s that expressed interest in the oil exploration, has not conducted the environmental assessment impact .

Mfiti observed that  the current laws do not tackle on punishment of polluters and benefits of citizens.

He said  new law of Envirnomental Management and Authority does not address the issues that were raised during the African Mining vision.

“We need the issues to be addressed. But also government is not forth coming on how prepared they are in case of environmental pollution,” he said.

Mfiti argues that there is too much secrecy in the manner in which these licenses were awarded; and, therefore susceptible to abuse by the licensees.

In January 2015, attorney general Kalekeni Kaphale also expressed reservations over how the licences were awarded.

His legal advice resulted in the cancellation of all the exploration licences, on blocks one to six, pending review.

According to Mfiti, oil and gas drilling is “not a sustainable” development that Malawi needs to pursue over its precious Lake Malawi.

“By drilling oil in fresh water lake, the government will compromise the ecology of Lake Malawi and hence future generations will not enjoy its benefits.

“The process will leave negative environmental footprints, public health hazards and loss of livelihood apart from rare species,” said Mfiti.

A renowned mining industry critic and Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) executive director, Rafik Hajat, also supports the move for  Malawi to review its legal framework governing the mining sector which he described as archaic.

He also called for the harmonisation of various laws in the country such as the Taxation Act, Labour Act, Investment Act and Employment Act which he said are interrelated with the mining sector.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Che Peter
2 years ago

My considered advice to those who are privileged to take a decision on the exploration of oil on our precious Lake Malawi is to cancel the whole idea, it is ill advised. It will be the end of Lake Malawi as we know it. The investors will be laughing all the way to the bank, leaving Malawians holding the baby as it were, the government will be powerless to do anything because great damage will have been done.

2 years ago

Oil extraction like the tobacco industry are on their decline. They will never be economic drivers of future development, so why don’t we focus on. solar, wind and geothermal power like most developed countries are doing?
Lake Malawi is a national jewel most Malawians know little about.
It is foolhardy to choose money over a healthy environment. Oil money brought much environmental damage and social upheaval in south-eastern Nigeria, is that what we want?
Are most Malawians even aware that there is no other lake on this earth with more species of fish than our lake?

2 years ago

Uku timatu kuzundikira mwa uchitsilu

President Chisokonezo
2 years ago

Tayambani kukumbs oil. Kodi tizingokhala amphawi ndikumakakhala was ku Joni. A Mfiti, mwa dzina lanu chonde musalepheretse kukumbs oil.

H E Nyaphapi One
2 years ago

Where is the oil?

2 years ago

We don’t want our lake to be compromised

2 years ago
Reply to  Nature


Read previous post:
Mutharika accuses Malawi judges of participating in ‘regime change’ activities

President Peter Mutharika on Friday said he is ready for re-election bid in the fresh presidential election but accused the...