Malawiâ€™s leader of opposition John Tembo on Wednesday led Parliament in supporting government on the Malawi-Tanzania border dispute, saying Lilongwe should â€œnot surrender Lake Malawi at all cost.â€
The border dispute resurfaced after Joyce Banda took over the country following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika, with Dodoma claiming the north-eastern part of the lake.
In his ministerial statement tabled in the House, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume outlined initiatives and a roadmap Malawi plans to undertake in resolving the matter amicably.
Said Chiume: â€œMalawi owns the lake in its entirety through the Anglo-Germany Treaty of 1st July 1890, showing the borderline under the control of the British and Germans. Further to that, a resolution by the Organisation of the African Union [OAU] in 1964 which calls on all member States to respect borders; strengthens Malawiâ€™s position that it entirely owns the lake.
â€œThere is no new treaty nullifying the current treaty which still stands. Therefore, Tanzaniaâ€™s argument that under international law, countries sharing a borderline through a body of water, the borderline must equally be in the middle of the water mass, does not arise in this case, and so Malawiâ€™s case stands.â€
He said during the last round of talks earlier this month in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, â€œthe two sides agreed to disagree on the matterâ€ and they are now seeking international help, preferably from within the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc).
In his response to the statement, Tembo, who is also Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president, supported governmentâ€™s stand, saying he is looking forward to a positive end.
â€œWhatever process will be taken, the end must not be to surrender any part of Malawi. We must use the peaceful process but never surrender Lake Malawi,â€ he said.
Leader of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Parliament Dr. George Chaponda also supported the position and steps taken by government on the matter.
Said Chaponda: â€œMalawi has a strong case, the existence of the Anglo-Germany treaty is stronger evidence backing the countryâ€™s position than everything else our colleagues [Tanzania] are talking about.
â€œWe have lived up to what we always say Malawi is a peaceful country, despite the acts of provocation. Other countries would have taken certain measures which we have not. But whatever the case, no piece of our country should be lostâ€.