KARONGA--Scores of people in the border district of Karonga are living in fear and are now being haunted by ‘disheartening’ rumours of war over the Lake Malawi border dispute with neighbouring Tanzania which is refusing to die several weeks after it started.
People of Karonga claim that government has failed to keep them updated on the issue which has “stripped them of all their peace”.
The dispute between Malawi and Tanzania over Lake Malawi started late last year after former president Bingu wa Mutharika granted British Company Surestream Petroleum permission to explore Lake Malawi for oil and gas.
Since then, the issue has become a thorn-in-the-flesh for the Malawi government, and now, common people in Karonga district.
According to MaraPost random interviews conducted around Baka, a village which is just close to the Karonga main market, most people are living in fear with no knowledge of what the consequences of this border dispute might be.
MaraPost also found out that a good number of people living in the village are Tanzanians who are operating various kinds of businesses in Karonga.
One woman who spoke on condition of anonymity said that they are never at peace when their Tanzanian counterparts speak so threateningly that should there be a possibility of war, they will take over Malawi since
“Malawi cannot defeat them in war”.
The woman called upon government to handle the matter seriously while at the same time letting the people know what is going on.
“We are living in fear. We were getting rumours that the lake is getting contaminated by the Kayelekera mine and now we are hearing rumours that there will be war because of the same lake,” complained the 60-year-old woman.
According to information MaraPost sourced on the Lake Malawi border dispute, Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe has been quoted by several newspapers in his country saying that the negotiations with Malawi over the dispute have failed. Tanzania has also published a new map showing the new boundary as being in the middle of Lake Malawi and not at the north-eastern shores.
(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited