Activist tells Govt to withdraw oil drilling permission on Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi

One of the country’s environmental activists has told Malawi government to scrap all Lake Malawi oil exploration and drilling contracts it signed with various companies.

Last week government made a u-turn on suspending oil exploration on Lake Malawi involving two firms, Hamra and Ras al Khaima Gas (Rak Gas), after clearing the two of any wrongdoing.

Lake Malawi
Oil drilling on this water body has raised concerns.

A legal opinion from the Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale late last year had called for cancellation of deals involving blocks 4 and 5 on Lake Malawi as the AG believed then that the law had been broken in awarding the “adjoining or contagious [sic] blocks” to related companies of Hamra and Rak Gas.

But Kaphale was quoted by local media said government investigated the link between the two companies after documents related to the sale of deed of oil exploration licence by Surestream Petroleum Limited to Hamra Holdings Limited dated December 2013 named Rak Gas as a guarantor of the agreement in its capacity as sister company of Hamra.

However, director of Institute of Sustainable Development (SDI) Godfrey Mfiti said in an interview with Malawi24 on Wednesday that the issue of oil exploration on Lake Malawi leaves a lot to be desired.

He further said the government of Malawi has totally failed to be transparent in awarding the oil concessions hence need to withdraw the go ahead licences.

Godfrey Mfiti
Godfrey Mfiti: Malawians have been blindfolded over this matter.

“Malawians have been duped and taken for granted since the truth has been withheld from them. We would like to know what has changed and why the government proceeded to maintain the contracts on block 4 and 5.”

“As an environmental activist and knowing the importance of Lake Malawi as a source of livelihood and drinking water, I say no to oil drilling in Lake Malawi. So, the oil projects on Lake Malawi must be withdrawn,” Mfiti told this reporter.

He added that the cost of drinking water is on the rise to an extent of having VAT on water.

According to the activist, it means that when government starts drilling oil and at the same time tapping water from Lake Malawi for drinking, the cost of drinking water will go up.

Mfiti continued saying the benefits of drilling oil are not guaranteed to ordinary Malawians since the process has started with secrecy and allegations of corrupt practices in the way contracts were awarded.

He said he believes government of Malawi must set its priorities right to uplift the poor by promotion of sustainable economic projects and added that Malawi must promote a green economy and not compromise access to clean and safe drinking water.

He finally urged Malawians to say no to exploitation of Lake Malawi for oil saying the lake must sustain livelihoods, fisheries, and agriculture and provide drinking water.

Lake Malawi is divided into six segments for oil and gas exploration with Block One awarded to Sac Oil Holdings Limited of South Africa in 2012.

Blocks Two and Three were awarded to a British firm Surestream Petroleum in 2011 but in 2013 Hamra Oil Holdings acquired 51 percent stake in the Surestream licences.

Blocks Four and Five were awarded to Rak Gas in July 2013 whereas the sixth block went to Pacific Oil.



  1. The problem is that malawian are poor in thinking u rather allow urself to suffer for fear of the leaders and its government and no unity in fighting sorry what kayerekera has done to us

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  3. Just imagine your self all those money has been given from donors trying to help those people who are starving with hanger in Malawi, alot of billions, but our government doesn’t do anything until now, still no plans to eliminate this great disaster, So where does those money has gone??? Sono nyanja ikuthandiza wina aliyense kuzera mu usozi kupeza chakudya, ndalama, ndiye muiononge kuti isathandizeso anthu wamba koma inu nokha olemela kale??? Ndiye ife tikuti, zimenezo sitifuna!! Oil ayi koma nsomba basi zipitilire nyanjayi ndidaliso lathu anthu osaukafe. Ndinu ankhaza osaganizila ovutika.

  4. Malawi has been used to have their own fishing lake, for many years,& it has been helping all the people of Malawi to eat their own fresh & dried fish, so don’t think with your on efforts to destroy our own pride given by God. #Mukungofuna kuyambisa mikangano & it’ll resulted a war, bcz phindu lake silizapita kwa anthu wamba, koma zizangokomera acuma omweo, pamene nsomba imadibwa ndi wina aliyense ngakhale ndinkalamba zomwe “ziwani kuti oil azaononga zonse zachilengedwe mu nyanja yathu”


  6. Every development has its side effects, anyone who wants development wthout side effects is lyk aperson who wants to swim wthout touching water.

  7. Malawi can’t change any more. For instance we’ve been donated with lots of bn kwachas from donors n yet we r still staving, black out every day to mention few so do you really telling us dis system z going to help us?

  8. Kuyambitsa migodi,ndicho chiyambi chakutukuka,komaso kuthibulana ngati ku Sudan,komaso vuto limene lizakhalepo ndilakuti anthu amene anazolowela kuba ndalama zadziko,adzakhala akuba mafutawa,ndikumakagulitsa kodziwa wokha,.Apa powopa zamikangano ngati zimenezi,tiyeni tisiye kukamba zankhaniyi.ife tinazolowera kukhala mwa mtendere ndiumphawi.

  9. Masanje Awa Siyani Musatiwonongere Nyanja, Pezani Zina Zochita

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  11. That’s why Malawi will remain poor forever. We have the resources but underutilised. We have Chambo yes but !most of us haven’t tasted that Chambo for years. Have you ever heard of Environmental Impact Assessment?

    1. Kusayenda akulu kukupwetekan thus y simunachilawe chambo and uyantorolwera xitobo fr supprtn dat nyoff tsabangan man ahhaa man

  12. Government says they have a surplus from the tax collected in spite of all the cashgate. On top of that, donations are pouring in from all directions. Yet on the ground, nothing changes. In fact, things are getting worse everyday. How then will oil drilling solve this situation? The lake benefits many locals. The rich don’t understand the long chain of beneficiaries who stand to lose if this lake is polluted. Save Lake Malawi!

    1. I understand perfectly well, do ur research and you will see how common oil spills are. Oil spills are extremely costly to clean up and result in death of aquatic life. Follow how Malawi govt failed to monitor kaliyekera and listen to the complaints from that side. Malawi’s shoddy and corrupt administration cannot manage to enforce high standards in the oil industry which can then give room for shoddy, cheap work, which easily results in pollution.

  13. Pezani njira zina aboma zopezera ndalama osati zoononga chilengedwezo. Nyanjayo imabweletsa ndalama zochuluka amaphamo somba alendo amadzaionaso ndikumakusiilani chikwama.

  14. If Malawi needs progress should invest much in mining and oil and gas. We need to compromise. We cannot have 100% clean environment even without oil and mining projects. Let’s not be naïve. Malawi is ours and the activist has a backing from his donor who is a white not being a direct beneficiary of this project. I know that we have petrochemical politics and its effect is a devastating. Oil on lake malawi has a lot of stakeholders, some good and others worst especially Tanzania and the west. However, we cannot sit back due to fear and cowardice.

    1. the mining sector is not yet at that level to feel a poker. Mining is at halt due to legislation issues. we have archaic act on mining. With the ‘geo-mapping’ results of malawi you will see what mining will bring to malawi soon.

    2. the mining sector is not yet at that level to feel a poker. Mining is at halt due to legislation issues. we have archaic act on mining. With the ‘geo-mapping’ results of malawi you will see what mining will bring to malawi soon.

    3. Tell me about investing in the agricultural sector, but the dangers of investing in the minning sector especially our flesh water lake for the sake of drilling oil is a terrible idea.. not only will the environment suffer,but corruption(kayelekela) , local and international politics…… if as a country we try to use shortcuts innorder to develop somhw the environment/politics in such an industry will stll bring our beloved nation to its needs…#myopinion

    4. Don, agriculture has failed us since time in memorial. politics has not left agriculture as well. think of tobacco prices. agriculture is suffering from climate change and poor prices. kayelekera contributed about 2.5% to GDP yearly since its opening. it was closed due to price crush on international market due to the fukushima nuclear power station accident in Japan. this made demand of uranium to fall drastically. Corruption is not an excuse to leave malawi keep on being in poverty. corruption is every where in the world. Wakuba samusiyira tsala (munda). It depends on how we can deal with this cancer of economy. On lake malawi safety, you must know that this is a 21st century hence we have sophisticated technology that guarantees safety of our matemba only lake. We cannot just sit on a chair of cowardice as a nation.

    5. If Uranium Failed 2 Develop Kayelekera Where It Z Mined, Karonga & Chitipa Hav Not Benefited, Z Beta 2 Invest In Aza Sector Coz Mining Has Failed No Matter Hw Had U Can Do Than No Malawian Or Govt Will Benefit Except The BIG ONES

    6. That’s why the whole mining issue has been put on halt to revise our old act so that it benefits people practically. Don’t judge mining of malawi on uranium only. we have various minerals. there is need to invest in national IDs and energy to male mining possible.

    7. I oppose that .Dont just think on a short term benefit .Think of the oil scale in our lake and think of environmental problems.We need to have sustainable devp so as to think of the future .What will we do when our oil is depleted??? The condition will be worser i guess .We will even struggle to get drinkin water more than we do .By the way,how has the mining sector helped us so far,you will see only those with big names and mining companies enjoy the deal .Think critically on it brother .

  15. Yes. Stay the hell away from our beautiful lake! It ain’t gonna do no good to poor Malawians. Only Judases and their boss will benefit from that development. I repeat, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM LAKE MALAWI. Spare the poor fisherma

    1. Lol. But look bruh. You just know how selfish people in power are in Malawi. Think about Kayelekera, think about the Tractors that were bought through loan. Should we expect a different story on this one? I don’t think so. We won’t benefit and ontop of that, we will loose our lake too

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