Group wants Sadc to tackle lake, Zim polls

Chissano: Lead mediation talks
Chissano: Lead mediation talks

A Namibian-based group has asked Sadc Heads of State who will be meeting in Lilongwe this month to discuss the Lake Malawi border wrangle between Malawi and Tanzania.

The group—Forum for the Future of Africa (Fffa)—also wants the region’s leaders to discuss the just-ended Zimbabwe elections that most official observers declared to be free and peaceful.

In an open letter to the Heads of State signed by Saunders Jumah, the forum wants Sadc leaders to call for restraint in the way Lilongwe and Dodoma handle the matter until the Elders Forum from Sadc pronounce themselves.

“In this case, provocative attempts by any of the States on the lake are unacceptable. Tanzania as a new claimant of the lake must not be a provocateur of the dispute; if they all agreed to take the matter to the elders, they must all wait till the council of elders pronounce themselves.

“We must try all means to make sure that peace in the region is maintained and upheld,” reads the open letter in part.

Former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano is leading the elders group as chief mediator in the dispute.

Malawi’s argument is based on a July 1 1890 treaty between Britain and Germany that maps the boundary between the two countries along the Tanzanian shore.

On the other hand, the neighbours are invoking the 1982 UN Convention on Law of the Sea that stipulates that in cases where nations are separated by a water body, the boundary lies in the middle of the water source.

On the Zimbabwe elections, the group says it is disheartening to see some of the leaders from Sadc endorsing Robert Mugabe, when widespread irregularities were recorded and observed.

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