Malawi pulls out of lake border dispute talks, accuses Tanzania of confrontation
Malawi has reacted angrily to sightings of a Tanzanian motor boat on lake Malawi and the release of a new map of Tanzania that claims part of the lake.
Malawi president Joyce Banda announced yesterday that Malawi will pull out of the talks with Tanzania as Tanzania has failed to respect the route of dialogue that Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete had assured her at a meeting in Mozambique earlier this year.
“When I was leaving the country for the UN, I thought the issue with Tanzania was sorted out and that we were going to pursue dialogue,” Banda added. “However, in the period I have been away, Tanzania launched a new map. They are harassing our fishermen and sailing boats in our lake.”
“I was about to go to Tanzania to pay a courtesy call on President Kikwete, but I have advised the Ministry of foreign affairs to write them informing them of the pull-out,” she added.
The border between Malawi and Tanzania was drawn on the basis of a 1890 treaty between former colonial powers Britain and Germany which, was later reaffirmed by the Organisation of African Unity when the countries gained independence in the early 1960s.
Tanzania accepted these borders at independence, and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere tried to renegotiate with Kamuzu Banda later but failed to make any headway.
However, the oil exploration on the lake by Malawi seems to have rejuvenated and excited Tanzania to start claiming ownership of part of the lake.