Incensed by the recent behaviour of the Tanzanian Government over the Lake Malawi dispute, President Joyce Banda on Tuesday ordered that dialogue between the two countries be put on hold.
Briefing journalists at the New State House in Malawiâ€™s capital Lilongwe on arrival from the US where she attended the 67th United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Banda said until Tanzania explains the new map it launched on the boundary and other recent activities on the lake, the dialogue should be stopped â€œand look for other means.â€
Said Banda: â€œWhen I left the country, I was of the view that the matter is resolved, but now the matter looks bigger than I thought. While in New York, I wrote them [Tanzania] telling them that there is no point going on with the dialogue.â€
Banda said she briefed the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the lake dispute.
Apart from the new map, Banda said the other developments that incensed Malawi included the harassment of fishermen caught on the lake and after Tanzania sent its boat on the lake amidst threats that any vessel from Malawi found would be shot.
On the hunger situation in the country, President Banda said it is will be worse than expected, contradicting her Minister of Economic Planning and Development Atupele Muluzi who on Tuesday disputed a report by Fewsnet that 1.76 million people will need food aid.
Banda said government has already drawn 25 000 metric tonnes from the strategic grain reserves and was also discussing with World Food Programme to find out how much assistance has been mobilised.
The President also justified her trip to USA and the number of delegates she took. She said that without adequate officials, it could have been impossible for her to effectively hold over 30 meetings in 10 days.
She also said while her administration is said to have blown almost K308 million (about $1.03 million), her predecessor blew almost K700 million (about $2.3 million) on a similar trip and also left unpaid bills amounting to $600 000 (almost K283 million).