Malawi and Tanzania Put Legs in the Same Trouser over Lake

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In Malawi, they call it Lake Malawi. The same Lake is called Lake Nyasa in Tanzania. Regardless what name you call it, the two neighbouring countries, Malawi and Tanzania, are deeply involved in a hot diplomatic dispute over the lake many believe is potentially rich in oil and gas. Recently, the President of Malawi Peter Mutharika re-emphasized his country`s position that the entire Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi. In the same defying stand, Tanzania maintains her claims over Lake Nyasa and plans to reportedly send ships to the disputed lake. Despite her rigid position, Tanzanian government has however, encouraged dialogue aimed at finding a lasting and amicable solution to the problem.

Making his position know to both former president of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano and former president of Botswana Festus Mogae, both members of Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government, a body presently mediating in the Lake Malawi border conflict between the two countries, President Peter Mutharika warned that no inch of the lake belongs to Tanzania.

“I say so clear because the issue of the boundary has been so clear for 126 years,” President Mutharika told Malawi Parliament.

However, like Tanzania the President of Malawi equally assured that his country is not ready to go to war with Tanzania over the disputed border. Both countries prefer “an amicable solution” to the conflict.

Earlier, Malawi government had warned that it would take the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) if no peaceful solution is found. In her legal opinion, the former ICJ head,  Professor Rosalyn Higgins, concludes that the entire lake belongs to Malawi.

Regardless the claims, it is a welcome development that despite the hot rhetoric, the two countries prefer rather a peaceful solution to the border dispute. This is an approach other waring antagonists must emulate.