Malawi President Peter Mutharika has maintained his position that has said the entire Lake Malawi, Tanzania calls Lake Nyasa, which is potentially rich in oil and gas is owned by Malawi, saying there is no need to negotiate the issue.
Mutharika – a law professor who also taught law in Tanzania – told a meeting of former president of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano and former president of Botswana Festus Mogae, who are members of Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government mediating in the Lake Malawi border dispute with neighbouring Tanzania, that whole lake belongs to Malawi emphasizing that not even an inch belongs to Tanzania.
“My position has not changed,” said President Mutharika.
The two former leaders, who arrived in Malawi Wednesday, briefed President Mutharika on the progress of mediation in the row.
Mutharika insisted that the whole lake belongs to Malawi emphasizing that not even an inch belongs to Tanzania.
“I informed the two leaders that to us there is no conflict between Malawi and Tanzania. I have stated that the issue about Lake Malawi is not negotiable and my position has not changed,” said the Malawi President.
He however pointed out that the position does not mean Malawi is ready to go to war with Tanzania.
“Our case on this matter is very clear according to the Helgoland Treaty of 1896 and the OAU resolution of 1985,” said President Mutharika.
He added, “I am confident and hopeful with the efforts of the mediation team of Presidents Chissano, Mogae and Thabo Mbeki so far, to help resolving this issue.”
Mutharika assured the Forum of his personal and government’s commitment to return to discussions with “our neighbours for an amicable and peaceful resolution” of this matter which he said, is in the best interest of the two nations.
Tanzania claim to half the lake – Africa’s third biggest – but Malawi disputes.
Malawi government previously hinted that if not resolved, it will got to International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Mutharika’s legal opinion also gives Malawi impetus to push the case to the ICJ if current mediation efforts by the Forum of Former Heads of State and Government fail.
Revered British judge Professor Rosalyn Higgins, QC, former ICJ head also gave a legal opinion which concludes that Malawi owns the entire lake.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :