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Mutharika wrote Tanzania on lake border dispute—Pres Joyce Banda

Bingu-wa-MutharikaBefore Pres Banda's predecessor Bingu wa Mutharia allowed Surestream to explore for oil in Lake Malawi, he sought clarification on the border issue between Malawi and Tanzania, Abel Wezzi reports from Lilongwe

Following conflicts between Malawians and Tanzanians on Lake Malawi in 2005, late president Bingu wa Mutharika asked the Tanzanian government to address the border issue, Pres Joyce Banda disclosed Sunday.

Banda was commenting on discussions she held with her Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete on the dispute over Lake Malawi.

“The President indicated that our Late President wrote to him in 2005 and he mentioned the dates,” Banda told journalists at the New State House in the capital Lilongwe. “We should’ve the copy in our office.

According to Banda, Kikwete, whom she met in Mozambique on Saturday during the Southern African Development Community heads of state summit, said war talk in his country was being propagated by some sections of the media and the opposition.

“The President said he is the Commander-In-Chief and his cabinet hasn’t yet discussed anything. He assured me to assure Malawians that nothing reported in the media is true about the war.”

The Malawi leader said country owns the whole lake and that Tanzania’s founding president Julius Nyerere was unequivocal in an address to the Organisation of African Unity which is now the African Union. Tanzania’s third president, Benjamin Mkapa also pointed out that the lake belongs to Malawi, Banda said.

She said Malawi and Tanzania want the issue resolved diplomatically and for now “we will leave it to the technical teams starting [meeting] tomorrow in Mzuzu.”

The granting of an oil-exploration licence last year by Mutharika to British firm Surestream sparked off howls of outrage in Tanzania which says it owns part of the lake.

The company has been conducting an environmental impact assessment.
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