State President of the Republic of Malawi Mrs. Joyce Banda has said it in bold that the dispute between the country and neighbouring Tanzania over Lake Malawi has got no basis because the entire lake belongs to Malawian territory.
She was speaking at Kamuzu Palace in the Capital City, Lilongwe on Sunday upon her arrival from Kampala, Uganda where she attended the 16th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit.
“Since I was born the information which I got from my ancestors was that Lake Malawi belongs to Malawians and Indeed Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi.
“I appeal to all Malawians to hand over this information to the young generation that Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi,” said the President.
She was flanked by Information and Civic education Minister Moses Kunkuyu, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Henry Mganda Chiume as well as Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Bright Msaka.
The State President was commenting on the ongoing dispute between the two countries over the ownership of Lake Malawi.
Foreign media reports have been quoting Tanzanian government officials as claiming that part of the Lake belongs to their territory, a development which President Mrs Banda completely dismissed.
President Mrs Banda went on to say that her government has instituted a body which is thoroughly looking into the matter on a number of things like figures as well as to gather all the facts as regards to the Lake.
“We have put in place a body whose sole responsibility is to look into the matter concerning Lake Malawi,” she said.
President Mrs. Banda added that she engaged political leaders in the country to discuss the matter and that all of them said that Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi and that there was no need for any country to claim that part of the Lake belongs to their territory.
Chiume told a team of journalists during the media conference that during the meeting he held in Uganda, it was resolved that the matter be left into the hands of retired Presidents of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) so that Malawi and Tanzania should reach a compromise over Lake Malawi dispute.
“We met a week ago with officials from Tanzania and we agreed that we should meet this week in South Africa at the SADC Secretariat so that they should engage retired heads of State to handle the matter,” the foreign Affairs Minister said adding.
“We have in mind retired Presidents of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda, Rupiah Banda, retired President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, retired President of Namibia Sam Nujoma, retired President of the Republic of South Africa Nelson Mandela and retired President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Bakili Muluzi among others to handle the matter,” said the Minister
The dispute between the two countries refuses to die after Tanzania introduced a new map which shows that almost half of Lake Malawi belongs to their territory.
Soon after the claims by Tanzania over the lake, a meeting was held in the Northern Region of Mzuzu by officials from the two countries but nothing tangible was achieved up until Lilongwe called off the talks.
Meanwhile, reports are saying that the government of Tanzania is organizing a team of Lawyers to represent it before the International Court of Justice over the issue to do with Lake Malawi.
And the government of Malawi is also not just idling as it is reportedly engaging both local and foreign legal representatives to handle the matter.
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