Malawi Brings Lake Dispute with Tanzania Before ICJ
Malawi intends to take the Lake Malawi border dispute with neighboring Tanzania to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaila has said.
Tanzania claims it owns the Northern part of the water body, yet Malawi says it does not share any part with any nation. This comes hot in the heels of the cancellation of the mediation talks on the dispute. The talks were scheduled to take place in South Africa, on 8th and 9th May, 2017.
“The government of Malawi has been committed to the mediation process and peaceful resolution of the dispute through contact and dialogue, but we are now ready to take Tanzania to the International Court of Justice because they have been stalling the mediation efforts since 2012,”Kasaila is quoted telling the Reuters.
Kasaila says the Malawi is worried with Tanzania’s ‘tricks’ saying it protracts the conclusion of the matter on the resumption of the mediation process. In a statement last week, the Minister had also indicated that it is the Tanzanian government that wanted the talks canceled.
“Malawi confirmed its participation after consultations with Tanzania. However, on 4th May, 2017, the Government of Malawi received communication on the postponement of the meeting by the Chairperson of the HLMT at the instance of the Government of Tanzania,” reads the statement released by the Malawi government.
Brief History of Lake Dispute
Malawi maintains that the boundary is the shoreline of Lake Malawi as established by Article 1(2) of the 1890 Anglo-German Treaty hence the lake belongs to Malawi in its entirety. On the other hand, Government of Tanzania claims that the boundary is the median line of the lake based on principles of customary international law. It even produced a new map showing the disputed portion of the lake as part of Tanzania.
Recently, High Commissioner of Tanzania to Malawi Victoria Mwakasege told the media that her government wants to have a share of the oil which Malawi plans to drill. However Malawi has expressed concern over the remarks saying this has never been Tanzania’s position from the beginning.
The Lake Malawi dispute started way back in the 1960s but the current wrangle began after Malawi awarded licenses to various companies to search for oil and gas on the lake.