Both Malawi and Tanzania’s governments have submitted their positions on the disputed boundaries of Lake Malawi (or Lake Nyasa as it is known in Tanzania). This week, the Government of Malawi confirmed that Festus Mogae, Joaquim Chissano and Thabo Mbeki, the former heads of state of Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa respectively, will form the panel that will go over the countries’ submissions.
A delegation from the Tanzanian and Malawian governments submitted a letter in December 2012 requesting Mozambique’s former head of state, Chissano, to mediate the dispute between Tanzania and Malawi on ownership of Lake Malawi (known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania).
Chissano is the chairperson of the Africa Forum of former African Heads of State and Government and is responsible for appointing a panel of other former heads of state and relevant professionals to resolve the wrangle.
The dispute has been linked to the oil reserves that lie below the lake. Malawi’s government has already awarded two companies, Surestream Petroleum and SacOil, exclusive prospecting licences to explore for oil.
If the dispute is not resolved within three months by the Africa Forum, the case will be presented before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ has always ruled in favour of a median border.
Earlier, representatives from the two countries’ governments failed to reach an agreement at border talks held for two days in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in November 2012.
Festus Mogae (Former President of Botswana, 1998-2008), Joaquim Chissano (Former President of Mozambique, 1986-2005), Thabo Mbeki (Former President of South Africa, 1999-2008)