10 January 2016

East Africa: Malawi Protests to Tanzania Again Over Its New Map

Photo: Tintazul/Worldtraveller/Nasa
Lake Malawi View from orbit.

Malawi government has for the second time formally protested to Tanzania over its decision to publish a new map before the two countries have resolved a dispute over the boundaries of Lake Nyasa/Malawi.

The Joyce Banda-led administration first protested attempts by Tanzania to redraw the border and accused its neighbour of treating it in a way "that creates discomfort and distancing".

The newly published map, which shows the boundaries of the country's newly created regions, has reignited the ongoing dispute over the boundaries on Lake Malawi, which is potentially rich in oil and gas.

In its letter lodging a diplomatic protest, Foreign Affairs Minister George Chaponda has confirmed Malawi has expressed its concerns that "some high-handed official decided to publicise maps which shows the dividing line as at the median line which they are claiming, we have already sent a letter of protest because when we engaged the Tanzanians in the mediation process, we agreed that the status quo will remain the same."

Chaponda said Malawi has requested from Tanzania "an urgent meeting", mainting the stand of Malawi that e Heligoland treaty that established colonial States, was the correct interpretation of both international law and general laws governing treaties.

He said Peter Mutharika government are proceeding with the mediation which was initiated by the Joyce Banda administration, saying Mutharika's government could not have adopted the mediation policy to have the final verdict and wants to see what route map new Tanzanian President John Magufuli would want to use on the matter.

Tanzania claimed it released the maps because new regions and districts had been created and it was therefore necessary to show the boundaries.

It has been confirmed that Tanzania had received the protest note.

Malawi disputes Tanzania's claim to half the lake - Africa's third biggest.

It has accused Tanzania of raising tension by allegedly intimidating Malawian fishermen on the lake.

Malawi awarded oil exploration licences to foreign companies to search for oil in the lake, which Tanzania calls Lake Nyasa.

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