Today, Capital FM held a debate on the dispute between the Tanzanian and Malawian governments on rights to Lake Malawi. Listeners were asked on Capital FM’s Facebook page:
“-What is the best way to resolve the dispute over Lake Malawi in your opinion?
-If the Lake dispute between the two countries cannot be resolved by Malawi and Tanzania, do you think international bodies like the African Union or International Court of Justice (ICJ) should take a more active role and help settle the dispute before more threats of war are announced?”
Capital FM listeners who phoned in happily bandied about the idea of going to war with Tanzania especially as the talks to settle the dispute have failed. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ephraim Chiume emphasised that “We don’t believe that we can afford to go to war”, although the Government of Malawi is being careful and protecting citizens living along the lakeshore. Surestream Petroleum, the UK-based company that has the only exploratory license for two blocks in the lake, remains quiet. In other related company news, Surestream launched a football academy last month with MDC United in Blantyre.
However, disputes are not relegated to what lies below the surface and between neighbouring nations. This weekend the Weekend Nation published an exposé that indicated the Government did not follow the public procurement process for the four ports on the lake which are now being managed by Mota-Engil, a company that has been involved in civil engineering and infrastructural projects in Malawi for 20 years with increased activities during the late Bingu Wa Mutharika’s presidency. The company has not been without its critics in Malawi, especially due to its involvement with the Nsanje Inland Port fiasco/development (commentators remain divided), as it is a contractor with Paladin Kayelekera as well as reportedly exploring for gold and base metals in central Malawi.
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