Tanzania has expressed surprise at Malawi’s decision to opt to refer the Lake Malawi border dispute matter to the International Court of Justice instead of the initial mediation arrangement.
In December last year, Malawi and Tanzania agreed to meet chairperson of the Africa Forum of Former Heads of State, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, to mediate the Lake Malawi border disagreement.
But on Monday, Malawi President Joyce Banda cast doubt on the mediation process with Tanzania following revelations that the executive secretary of the Forum for Former African Heads of State, a Tanzanian national, allegedly leaked Malawi’s information to his country.
She suggested that Malawi could be taking the matter to the International Court of Justice as government feels the mediation has been compromised.
But in Dar es Salaam, Tanzanian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Membe said his country was surprised by Malawi’s decision to reject mediation.
Membe told The Citizen newspaper that Malawi did not bother to officially communicate its decision to Tanzania. (see story here: http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/4-national-news/30209-now-malawi-says-sadc-intervention-in-lake-nyasa-spat-with-tz-a-waste-of-time )
He is further quoted as saying that Malawi’s concerns had been addressed after the Tanzanian national was replaced with a Mozambican official.
“Malawi should know that Tanzania has not yet ratified the ICJ protocol…the best thing is for them to come back to the negotiating table to see what we can do next after the failed mediation,” Membe said.
But Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Chiume said he has not received any communication from Chissano that Malawi’s concerns have been addressed.
He said Malawi does not need to communicate to Tanzania because the matter is now beyond mediation.
Tanzania is claiming the northern part of the lake, citing international customary law while Malawi is claiming the whole of the surface that is not in Mozambique, including the waters that are next to the shoreline of Tanzania according to the Heligoland Treaty of 1890 between Great Britain and Germany concerning the border.