Tell Tanzania hands-off Lake Malawi, PAC urges govt: Taifa elders in war-cry

Malawi quasi religious organisation has asked government to take board stand on the Lake Malawi ownership wrangle and tell Tanzania ‘hands-off’.

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) Publicity Secretary, Maurice Munthali told journalists during two-day second all inclusive conference the institution organised in Blantyre, that government should not handle the issue with kids gloves but take a strong stand on the matter.

“We don’t need to play it fair. Its all clear that the lake belongs to Malawi and just like how the former president Kamuzu Banda did by warning the Tanzanians from trying to claim part of the lake, this government should also do the same. We need to tell Tanzania the truth, Hands –off,” Munthali said.

Munthali added: “You don’t negotiate when one tries to steal your wife. It’s the moment we speak the truth and not playing around with this issue. Negotiations on the matter will not help us because it’s known fact that the lake belongs to Malawi”.

Kunkuyu: t Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi in its entirety

However government has defended its stand on the matter by pushing for contact and dialogue with the neighbouring country, saying it is one of many ways to solve the boarder dispute.

Minister of Information and Civic Education, Moses Kunkuyu argued that government was using diplomatic approach in order to sort out the matter.

“It’s not that we taking this issue seriously, but there are many ways of solving this problem and one of them is dialogue. Its a known fact that Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi in its entirety but at this moment we are trying to give dialogue a chance and see how far we can go in resolving the wrangle against our counterpart, Tanzania,” Kunkuyu said.

Government has asked United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to mediate the decades-long border dispute after dialogue with the northern country failed bear fruits.

Tanzania has already released new map that shows the border line passing in the middle of the disputed lake belongs to that country and reports are that some fishermen from Malawi are being denied access to the other part of the lake by Tanzanian authorities.

In the standoff Tanzania is claiming half of the Lake which is called Lake Nyasa in Tanzania. But Malawi claims the entire Lake basing on 1890 Anglo-German treaty also known as the Heligoland which put the border line on the shores of Lake Malawi.

Lake Malawi, known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania, is Africa’s third largest lake and it is thought to sit over highly coveted oil and gas reserves.

Malawi claims sovereignty over the entirety of the lake while Tanzania says it is entitled to 50 percent of it.

The dispute comes as a British company Surestream Petroleum is conducting Environmental Impact Assessment on the lake after Malawi government awarded it a contract last year to start gas and oil exploration there.
Gas finds off Tanzania and Mozambique have led to predictions the region could become the third largest exporter of natural gas on the planet.

Tanzanians ‘war-mongering’

Meanwhile, according to media reports, elders in Tanzania’s Mbeya region has sounded a war-cry against Malawi over the matter when Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard Membe, visited Kyela district on Monday to collect views of the elders there, meant to be part of the evidence to finally resolve the border dispute with Malawi.

“If the government doesn’t have guns, we are ready to attack Malawi by means and ways we know and teach President Joyce Banda, who has brought up this senseless claim,” said a fuming and saliva spitting Anyosisye Mwankenja (80) of Matema Beach who, like many elders was speaking in Kinyakyusa, according to a report in Tanzania’s Daily News.

The report said tt was a highly emotional outpouring of anger that Membe had to continually torn down with the words:”No, no, no. Don’t do that. Your government is stable and determined to resolve this matter through dialogue. It is my prayer that you shall all be around to see the final solution to the problem. I am quite confident that we shall win this case wherever we go.”

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