…Mutharika insists Tanzania should forget Lake Malawi
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Malawi government says it is waiting for Tanzania’s response on a diplomatic cable Lilongwe sent to Dodoma protesting the latter’s decision to issue a new map which includes a portion of Lake Malawi as part of Tanzania.
In an interview with Malawi24, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation public relations officer, Rejoice Shumba, said Tanzania has not responded and Malawi is still waiting for their response.
Shumba also said government is waiting for a decision by the mediation team which is handling the lake dispute between the two countries hence “Malawians should not panic as the issue is under control.”
However, when asked why Malawians have not been formally told that the map Tanzania is using has a portion of their lake as part of the country, Shumba said the issue is not new to Malawians.
She said: “Tanzania has been making claims that part of Lake Malawi, the median line which marks the boundary between Malawi and Tanzania referred to as ‘Nyasa’ is theirs for quite some time now. What is new is that Tanzania has produced a new map and has warned that they will arrest anyone found using the genuine Tanzanian map as we all know it.”
After producing the new map, Tanzania warned that they will arrest anyone found using the genuine Tanzanian map, a move which surprised Lilongwe as it feels that Dodoma does not have the right to claim any part of the lake.
“Malawi is very alarmed by these unilateral acts and this has in fact been the subject for the mediating panel. There is totally no legal basis for Tanzania to claim that part of Lake Malawi as theirs,” said Shumba.
Minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation told the media last week that the issue of the lake is not negotiable and that during the mediation talks, Malawi only accepted sharing of the lake as part of a solution to the lake wrangle.
The dispute over the lake flared up in 2012 after Malawi began to explore oil on the lake. When the two countries realised that they were not going to be able to resolve the wrangle on their own, they accepted mediation from the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government (Africa Forum), led by former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki .