Malawi Government says it will do everything within its powers to defend its boundaries that were duly laid down at the time when the country gained independence in 1964, Minister of Defence Ken Kandodo has said.

He was quoted by Malawi News Agency as saying last Thursday in Kasungu as reiterating that Malawians living along Lake Malawi in the border district of Karonga need not fear for their safety as the wrangle between Malawi and Tanzania over the lake rages on, saying government is ready to protect them.

The development comes at a time the Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda told the BBC that Malawi and its citizens must ensure that they only concentrate on their side of the lake during the fishing and oil exploration exercises.

Kandodo assured Malawians, especially those plying their trade along the lake, that they should feel safe as government is doing everything possible to ensure that its citizens continue to live in peace.

“Malawians living along the lake should feel safe and go about their business as usual. The foreign affairs ministry is taking care of the issue and soon it will be resolved,” he said.

He said the government would do everything within its powers to defend the lake arguing boundaries between Malawi and Tanzania were duly laid down at the time when the two neighbouring countries gained independence.

“We are ready to defend our territory. The boundaries were already duly set at the time of independence,” Kandodo told Mana.

Pinda admitted that Tanzanian security forces indeed questioned some Malawian fishermen on the lake and sent them back where they belonged while denying that the country is extending its borders because of oil discoveries in Lake Malawi.

According to The Journal of African Studies published in 1973 the then Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere did not pursue the matter further after his Malawian counterpart Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda insisted that the matter is not open for negotiations and that any decision by Tanzania to authorise demarcations on the lake would be considered as an invasion.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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