Malawi is grappling with yet another headache over borders; this time, it is on Malawiâ€™s western frontier where Zambian nationals have encroached into Kasungu National Park.
Minister of Tourism and Culture Daniel Liwimbi told Parliament on Thursday that government will engage Zambia to resolve the issue.
In his ministerial statement on the state of the tourism sector, Liwimbi told Parliament that some Zambians have settled inside the national park, a situation he said endangers game life in the protected area.
â€œThese people are even cultivating our land; they are poaching and we canâ€™t tolerate that,â€ he said.
Liwimbi told the House that efforts to chase the encroachers have failed, claiming that the illegal settlers keep coming back.
â€œThe situation is bad. We have already written the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we hope they will handle the issue with the urgency it deserves. They are then expected to liaise with their Zambian counterparts on the issue,â€ he said.
Asked later in an interview why Malawi has failed to resolve the issue when it has succeeded in chasing local encroachers from the park, Liwimbi said government is trying to be diplomatic in dealing with the issue to avoid unnecessary tensions with Zambia.
â€œWe are looking at that good neighbourliness perspective that has existed between the two countries for ages to continue. Caution is necessary. However, the ministry is also aware that complacency can cost the country a fortune in this regard,â€ said the minister.
To deter poaching and deforestation, government starting erecting a high voltage electric perimeter fence around the park.
â€œThe fencing is almost 80 percent done. But we canâ€™t complete the fencing with the encroachers inside the park. We need to chase them out first and hopefully that will be done soon,â€ said Liwimbi.