25 April 2019

Malawi: Mutharika, Magufuli Fail to Discuss Lake Malawi Wrangle - 'Lost Opportunity'

Photo: Government of Malawi
Malawi President Peter Mutharika and Tanzanian President John Magufuli

Tanzania president John Magufuli flies out of Malawi this Thursday having failed to discuss Lake Malawi wrangle with President Peter Mutharika on his two-day State-visit.

Political analysts and commentators are describing this as a lost opportunity.

Tanzania and Malawi on Wednesday discussed and signed a wide range of issues including trade and culture but avoided the issue of the lake which nearly brought the two neighbouring countries into war five years ago.

Principal secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs Ben Botolo said the issue of Lake Malawi was not on the table.

However, he could not be drawn to give the reasons why the two leaders will not discuss this important issue.

But political analyst George Phiri said this was a a lost opportunity.

"We should realise that we, Africans should not be influenced by foreign external forces on the issue of the lake. Malawi and Tanzania are the best to solve the issue themselves," he said.

He said it was a lost opportunity that Mutharika and Magufuli swept the issue under the carpet during their bilateral discussions.

Magufuli jetted in on Wednesday morning amid very tight security as some feeder roads were closed.

The two leaders held talks where they discusseda wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues and agreed to further deepen the bilateral relationship and cooperation in various areas including transport, communication, tourism, culture, investment and social affairs.

They also agreed to boost trade ties between the two countries and committed to implement the decisions that were reached during the 4th Session of the Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) that was held from 3rd - 5th February, 2017 in Lilongwe, Malawi.

"'The two Heads of State agreed to commence the construction of the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) at the Songwe- Kasumulu border post with immediate effect," reads part of the communique issued at the end of the talks.

During the meeting the two leaders also witnessed the signing of two bilateral instruments in the transport and culture sectors namely, Bilateral Road Transport Agreement, and Memorandum of Understanding in Culture, Arts and Sports that will see accelerated efforts in the development of Mtwara corridor.

Magufuli returns to Tanzania Thursday after opening the tobacco marketing season at Lilongwe Auction Floors.

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