Malawi Loses Faith in SADC Mediation Team
Lilongwe – Malawi President Joyce Banda has said that Malawi has given up hope on the SADC mediation over the Lake Malawi border dispute with Tanzania, claiming that the process has been compromised.
Banda is dismayed by revelations that information her country submitted to the mediation team headed by Mozambican former President Joachim Chissano was leaked by the secretary of the mediation team, who is also a Tanzanian national.
She told reporters in Lilongwe on her return from diplomatic visits to Britain and the US on Monday that Malawi has decided to take the matter to court for settlement.
The country has previously hinted that it was considering taking it to the International Court of Justice for arbitration.
“We should not waste time on the mediation,” Banda said.
Earlier last month, Malawi expressed comfort over the inclusion of a Tanzanian national, John Tesha, as executive secretary to the forum for the mediation.
Malawi Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Ephraim Mganda Chiume argued that the submission of Tanzania’s arguments two weeks after raised suspicion that Tesha would furnish his country with Malawi’s arguments to have an advantage in the dispute.
President Banda reiterated that the mediation was “compromised because information submitted by Malawi was leaked to Tanzania”. She said: “After surrendering our documents, we were told that they were leaked to Tanzania before the Tanzanians surrendered theirs.”
The dispute has emerged following prospects of oil in the north-eastern side of the lake bordering Tanzania and the subsequent awarding of oil exploration license to British firm Surestream.
Malawi claims ownership of the whole lake under a British/German colonial agreement of 1890. However, Tanzania says, according to international maritime law, the country owns half of the northern part of the waters.