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Attorney General not yet briefed on Lake Malawi dispute

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By Wezzie Gausi:

Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe says he is yet to be briefed by the government on the long standing dispute with neighbouring Tanzania over Lake Malawi ownership.

After a series of failed negotiations between Malawi and Tanzania, the then Democratic Progressive Party-led administration wanted to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

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Silungwe said meditation on the matter between Lilongwe and Dodoma had stalled for a while and he was waiting for guidance from relevant authorities.

“As you know, we are all new in our various offices having been in government for less than three months. So as an office, we have not yet received direction on the matter.

“But we understand that the previous government wanted to take the issue to the International Court of Justice, so now we will be waiting to be advised on the same. As an office, we are very ready to assist the new government if the matter is presented to us,” he said.

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In April 2019, Tanzania President John Magufuli said there was no hostility between Tanzania and Malawi because of the lake.

Magufuli said the two countries remained the best of neighbours and called on African countries to unite in their developmental undertakings.

Malawi and Tanzania have had disputes over where their Lake Malawi boundary lies since independence.

Reports indicate that the lake has massive oil and gas reserves.

Malawi claims the entire lake while Tanzania says it owns half of the northern part.

Part of the southern half is shared between Malawi and Mozambique.

Apart from the minerals, Lake Malawi is home to 1,000 rare species of fish.

The lake is Africa’s third largest and is also a major tourist attraction.

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