Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sadc to mediate in L. Malawi border dispute

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Bernard K. Membe washes his hands with Lake Nyasa water in Mbamba Bay 

By Rex Chikoko, The Citizen Correspondent

Lilongwe. The office of the forum for retired presidents in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) has released a roadmap for mediating in the border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania. The two countries have been disputing over Lake Malawi border for years now.

Recently, Malawi protested Tanzania’s plan to run a vessel on the disputed part of the lake, saying doing so would affect the mediation process. Malawian Foreign Affairs ministry official Quent Kalichero said a delegation from Malawi went to Mozambique last week to familiarise itself with the content of the roadmap.

“The minister of Foreign Affairs was in Maputo last week to get clarification on the roadmap. The roadmap will run until September 2013 and it spells out steps in the mediation process,” she said.

Ms Kalichero, however, could not be drawn into revealing contents of the roadmap.

Meanwhile, a group of concerned citizens are planning to protest at Parliament grounds in Malawi to seek a government statement regarding the border dispute.

The leader of opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Mr Peter Mutharika, recently told a political rally that the Lake Malawi issue was not negotiable. “This is a straight forward issue. Lake Malawi belongs to Malawi. Why negotiate?” Mutharika told the crowd.

Malawians expected President Joyce Banda, upon her arrival yesterday from a tour of six countries across the globe, to address the nation on a number of issues that emerged in the three weeks she has been away, including the developments on Lake Malawi, but the president postponed the press conference at an eleventh hour.