Malawians are calling for the country’s leadership to find a permanent solution with Tanzania on the Lake Malawi claim by Dodoma.
Tanzania continues to argue that the northern part of the lake is on its side.
In July last year, the SADC former Heads of State, who are the mediators on the issue, recommended the leaders of the two countries to meet to map the way forward.
Almost a year after the recommendation from the mediators, President Peter Mutharika and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli have not met.
It was after two day mediation talks in Pretoria South Africa in July last year where the High Level Mediation Team led by former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano proposed the meeting.
Delegates from both Malawi and Tanzania had accepted the proposal that their leaders would start meeting in three months time from July last,a development which is yet to be realised.
Just at the time when expectations were high to see what would transpire at the meeting between the two heads of state, the public is still waiting on what the final solution will be on the issue.
While emphasizing that they strongly believe that they are the sole owners of the lake, Malawians think their government should be quick in resolving the matter for good.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its spokesperson Rejoice Shumba told Capital FM that they are waiting for the Mediation Team to advice on the exact day when the talks would start.
Asked as to whether Malawi has ever sought update from the mediation team on the proposed meeting, Shumba says they have not.
Minus the former Mozambican leader, the mediation team comprises Thambo Mbeki and Festus Mogae who are former presidents of South Africa and Botswana respectively.
Malawians insist that the whole Lake Malawi belongs to them as established by Article 1(2) of the 1890 Anglo-Germany Treaty.
On the other hand, Tanzania claims the boundary is the median line of the lake, based on principles of customary international law.
On Monday fishermen at Makungulu Beach in Kachere Village on Likoma Island were excited when John Malamula assisted by his colleague Jacob Mwakawila caught a rare type of fish locally known as Mkunga or Mnjolo (Anguilla bicolor) using a line and hook.
The 1.7 metre fish weighing 20 kilogrammes is a deep-water fish.
It was last caught in 2007, according to communities in the area.
Lake Malawi is said to be home to more fish species than any other lake in the world.
It is home to at least 700 species of cichlids among other types.
But despite the many types of fish, over the years, some have become almost extinct in that one hardly catches them.
A Karonga resident hopes to help reduce unemployment challenges in the district, following his establishment of a tourist attraction site along the shores of Lake Malawi.
According to Willy Kachaka Mwafongo, the newly established Kilombero Beach Resort will not only reduce the unemployment rate among young people in the country but also promote tourism.
He adds that, Karonga being border district deserves such facilities to attract tourists into Malawi thereby improve the economy.
“We chose to name the resort Kilombero because the well known Kilombero rice comes from here and it is one of the things that the district prides itself for.”
Mwafongo further explained that the history of Malawi reveals that Karonga is one of the first places where the African Lakes Cooperation also called Mandala missionaries (the Moi Brothers) settled and opened shop along the place for economic purposes.
“Malawi government has put tourism as one of the key priorities so we want to contribute to that, regarding the Buy-Malawi Strategy and help Malawians patronising to that.
We have already partnered with Miracle Hotel and Management Training Centre which is here in Karonga who have provided us four young trainees to share us their hotel management skills as interns,” Mwafongo explained.
In addition to that they are hoping to put together a beach soccer team to compete at national level.
The Department of Marine Services is in the process of revising the Malawi Inland Waters Shipping Act (1995).
The Director at the Department of Marine Services, Laston Makuzula, confirmed the development to Malawi News Agency on Wednesday, citing the increase in the number of people that use water transport as the main reason for the revision of the Act.
Makuzula said his department was finalizing drafting the amendments which will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs for recommendations. He said the amended Act will then be sent to cabinet for debate and possibly will be passed into law.
He said the current Act has loopholes that make the water transportation system not to be fully utilized in the country.
“The Department of Marine Services is a regulatory arm of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, and it is responsible for all matters relating to water transport as well as issues pertaining to the implementation of policies and directions sanctioned under various Regional and International Conventions and Protocols.
“As such, the department has ratified a number of international conventions as well as regional protocols,” he explained.
In addition, he said Malawi, through the Department of Marine Services, is a full member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1989 and the Port Management Association for Eastern and Southern Africa (PMEASA).
In this regard, he said Malawi has to have up-to-date legislative work that matches with its international affiliations.
Recently, Portuguese Industrial Conglomerate, Mota Engil, asked for improved regulatory framework to ensure that water transport service is not flooded with unseaworthy vessels which will create unfair competition.
The regulatory framework in water transport and its enforcement regime need to be improved in terms of professionalism and enforcement to deter unsafe vessels and illegal operations to flood the market.
The Malawi government in collaboration with Hamra Holdings Limited is set to begin its geological and geo-physical mapping for oil and gas exploration, in Karonga District.
Hamra Holdings Limited is an oil exploration company and according to the Company’s consultant, Grain Malunga, the survey starts this month.
The findings, which may lead to offshore oil exploration, are expected to be revealed to the public by December this year.
Malunga told Capital FM that the survey will be done in a professional way so that Malawians will not be denied any information pertaining to the explorations.
“Mineral resource development is not a short term thing.
Mapping may take a short period of time but the actual exploration will take up to 20 to 30 years. This generation may not see the benefits but the generation to come will definitely benefit,” Malunga added.
The geologist then emphasised that Malawi will definitely benefit as agreements will be given to various companies through the government and if companies do not comply they will be forced to terminate such contracts.
He further maintained that Malawians should be assured that their livelihoods and natural resources such as like aquatic life will not be endangered, as all activity will take place offshore.
Lake Malawi was divided into six segments for oil and gas exploration with Block One awarded to Sac Oil Holdings Limited of South Africa in 2012.
Blocks Two and Three were awarded to a British firm Surestream Petroleum in 2011 but in 2013 Hamra Oil Holdings acquired 51 percent stake in the Surestream licences.
Blocks Four and Five were awarded to Rak Gas in July 2013 whereas the sixth block went to Pacific Oil.