Normalcy at the Tanzania-Malawi border post of Kasumulu/Songwe confirms that the amity between the two countries remains unshaken by recent events concerning a border dispute on Lake Nyasa.
The peaceful atmosphere contradicts sharply talks of the two countries going to war due to the dispute.
A recent visit to the border town of Kyela and at the border post revealed that activities there went on peacefully.
Travellers from Tanzania to Malawi and vice versa crossed the Songwe Bridge without hindrance. The ‘Daily News’ learned that close to 200 people had left from Tanzania and about 300 crossed the border every day.
Tanzanian immigration officers at the border said they did not observe any difference in the people’s traffic flow across the border. “These people interact a lot,” said one official of the department. “They have relatives on either side and do much business on both sides.
We have not seen much change. In fact, things are just normal,” he noted. Trucks loaded with cargo crossed from one side of the border to the other, signifying a tranquil atmosphere. This paper witnessed a truck loaded with timber clear at the Kasumulu Immigration Post into Tanzania.
“All is well,” said the driver, who declined to give his name. At a recent SADC summit in Maputo, President Jakaya Kikwete and President Joyce Banda of Malawi said the two countries would not go to war over Lake Nyasa.
The two leaders stressed that they would exploit all diplomatic channels for an amicable settlement of the dispute. Kyela District Commissioner, Ms Margaret Ester Malenga, said people of the two countries intermingle a lot in their activities and political hostility would inconvenience and disturb them in many ways.
“You can see how peaceful this place is and people who talk of Tanzania going to war with Malawi are exaggerating things and are in fact making outrageous statements,” Ms Malenga said. “The border post is called Kasumulu on Tanzania’s side. It is named after a hill which is known as Kasulu,” revealed an immigration officer at the border post.
On the Malawian side it is called Songwe. “The government decided to give them two different names as it is with Sirari in Tanzania and Isebania of Kenya at the Tanzania-Kenya border post in Tarime,” he elaborated.