Malawi Government plans to hire a team of lawyers that will include an unspecified number of British lawyers to help draft a legal paper to back her claims on Lake Malawi border dispute with neighbouring Tanzania.
The legal paper to be drafted shall be used by Malawi in the forth-coming round table talks with Tanzania, senior government sources said.
The sources confided in The Daily Times yesterday that the government has not yet settled for the exact number of the British lawyers to be hired, but it acknowledged that the foreign lawyers are expensive to acquire.
In a separate interview on Monday, Solicitor General and Principal Secretary for Justice Anthony Kamanga said he would not immediately give the names of the British lawyer, but was aware of the development.
“I can confirm that. We are in process of assembling the team. However, I can not divulge the names of the people who will make up the team,” Kamanga said.
Malawi is expected to come up with a legal opinion for use during the next round of talks with Tanzania expected to resume soon.
Our government sources said besides the British lawyers, the Malawi legal team will also comprise the Attorney General and Justice Minister, the Solicitor General, a senior lawyer from Justice Department and a law expert from the academia.
The talks were suspended earlier as government reacted to Tanzania’s decision to issue a new map in the middle of the talks and placing of a patrol boat on the lake which allegedly chased Malawian fishermen.
Despite assurances from Tanzania that the boat was from its fisheries department and will not interfere with Malawians, Tanzania’s Prime Minister Mizenga Pinda went on to tell the BBC that Malawi and its citizens must ensure that they only concentrate on their side of the lake during fishing and oil exploration activities.
Recently, Lilongwe also announced it will be taking the wrangle to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Tanzania is reported in the media to have requested for further talks on the border issue.
Meanwhile, Malawi Government has insisted it will do everything within its powers to defend its territorial boundaries that were duly laid down at the time when country gained independence in 1964.
A Malawi News Agency report quotes Minister of Defence Ken Kandodo as making the assurance in Kasungu last Thursday.
Kandodo said 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.
“We are ready to defend our territory. The boundaries were already duly set at the time of independence,” Kandodo said.
Malawi’s border with Tanzania spans to the shores of the northern and north eastern part of Lake Malawi.
However, Tanzania is agitating to share half of the lake at the northern tip.
Tanzania this month surprised Malawi when it issued a new map eating into the lake, saying it marked establishment of new regions of the country, prompting Malawi to suspend talks until Tanzania clarified the issue.
According to The Journal of African Studies published in 1973, founding Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere did not pursue the border issue further after his Malawian counterpart Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda insisted that the matter was not open for negotiations and that any decision by Tanzania to authorise demarcations on the lake would be considered as an invasion.