22 October 2012

Tanzania: All is Well at Lake Nyasa Border, Says Mbeya RC

Photo: Mohamed Mambo
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard Membe points to a median line border between Tanzania and Malawi on a recent administrative map of Tanzania .

MBEYA Regional Commissioner, Mr Abbas Kandoro has warned some dishonest people who spread messages of fear through social media, over the situation along Lake Nyasa that borders Malawi.

"Some unpatriotic people are spreading messages over the social media and through text messages with intent of creating fear and panic. This is very unfortunate," he said. Mr Kandoro was commenting on the rumours that several bombs were thrown from the Malawian side of the lake to Kyela District in Mbeya Region and that the situation was tense.

The messages which were being circulated through text and social media, said that the government had issued an alert for people in the area not to pick anything that they came across as bombs were rampant. "Situation is calm and there is no cause for panic. People in the said areas are safe. It is high time that we thought of positive use of modern technology because the current trend is not healthy," he said.

In another development, the Director of Information Services (Maelezo), Mr Assah Mwambene has also negated the rumours categorically, saying there was no need for panic. "There is a message spreading that over 30 bombs with not less than 100 tons in weight have been thrown from Malawi, calling on people in the regions bordering the lake to take precaution measures," reads Mwambene's statement issued in Dar es Salaam .

The statement further said that the massage directs people to contact number-0756000042 and claimed that it was an alert from the Tanzania People's Defense Forces (TPDF). "The information is not true and is being engineered with bad motives to Tanzanians. Citizens are urged not to send any information on the provided number and not to give any attention to such a message," he said.

Talks between the two countries (Tanzania and Malawi) are set to resume over the next weekend, in a bid to find an amicable solution to the border dispute that is currently threatening to jeopardize diplomatic relations. Lake Nyasa has been a source of disagreements since colonial times, which were rekindled recently when Malawi claimed ownership of the whole lake and allowed international companies to conduct research for investment in gas and oil exploration in the lake.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr John Haule, said recently that Tanzania was optimistic that the forthcoming talks would help to solve the conflict.In early October, the President of Malawi Ms Joyce Banda made an order calling off discussions with Tanzania before threatening to take the matter to another level - the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

However, Malawi later withdrew its decision after learning that Tanzania had not ratified ICJ and agreed to return to the negotiation table with Tanzania.

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