12 August 2012

Tanzania: Peaceful Resolution Needed for Lake Nyasa Conflict

, Bukoba — AUXILIARY Bishop, Methodius Kilaini of Bukoba Catholic Diocese has urged the government to seek diplomatic solution with neighbouring Malawi over the Lake Nyasa border dispute. He noted that engaging in military welfare would have negative effects for both Tanzania and Malawi.

Tanzanians and especially Kagera residents have painful memories of the 1978 Kagera war against former Ugandan ruler, Idi Amin. The economy was shattered and it took a very long time to return to normality," he said.

He advised officials from both sides (Tanzania and Malawi) to meet and reach an amicable solution.

In a related incident, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe, told Parliament in Dodoma recently that the government has asked firms conducting exploration of oil and gas in Lake Nyasa to stop the exercise, to allow resolution of the dispute on the border diplomatically.

We urge the government of Malawi to refrain from any actions that may worsen the situation, he said. Malawi is disputing Tanzania's claim to half of the fresh water body, saying its borders are on the shores of lake Nyasa as part of the 1890 Anglo-German Agreement.

In 1886 colonial rivalry between Britain and Germany flared up again and a fresh Anglo-German Partition Agreement clearly defined German and British spheres of influence.

A straight line was then traced between Kenya and Tanganyika along the actual boundaries divided the territories. North of the line, Kenya and Uganda went to England.

The Southern part together with the then Ruanda-Urundi to the west went to Germany: This gave birth to German East Africa. Germany seized the occasion to reduce the mainland possessions of Sultan Barghash of Zanzibar to a 16 km wide coastal strip, keeping free access to all ports.

In a separate development the Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements, Prof Anna Tibaijuka, earlier this week addressed the United Nations (UN) Council in Washington, USA, on Tanzania's border integrity in the Indian Ocean body.

Prof Tibaijuka told the 'Sunday News' in Bukoba Municipality that in January, this year, she presented a detailed report on Tanzania's share of the Indian Ocean body. Minister Tibaijuka was in Bukoba to attend the centenary celebrations of Kagondo Hospital in Muleba district. The hospital was founded by Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in 1912. She was also born at the same hospital.

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