At around the time of independence quite a few people in Tanzania wanted to claim a huge part of Lake Malawi or Lake Nyasa . Cool heads eventually prevailed, as most Tanzanians, including the legendary President Julius Nyerere, understood the importance of respecting boundaries emanating from colonial times.

During most of Dr Kamuzu Banda’s rule, Tanzania never really pushed this crazy idea of dividing up the lake. The issue was almost forgotten during the rule of Dr Bakili Muluzi and thereafter. In fact, Dr Bingu wa Mutharika commissioned a company to start exploring oil in the lake. Tanzania said nothing at that time.

Now we have a new president and all of sudden the Tanzanians are demanding that our government stop all exploration activities in the lake until all border issues have been clarified. Why now?

Folks, there is a reason why we have tradition. Tradition may appear useless and outdated but it is important because it usually become established after a long experience. In politics there is what is known as ‘presidential protocol’. These are small things which over the years have proven to be niceties a president must or must not do in order to represent his/her country correctly.

You would think some of them are not important but they are. Here are a few of them – presidents never bow for other presidents in public; presidents never escort anybody to their car; presidents walk with their arms spread outwards apparently projecting power and being in control; presidents usually put on a solid color (one color) necktie because it portrays power; when two presidents greet each other while facing the camera, each of them jostle to be on the right side so that his palm will face the camera- another sign of power, apparently; when in company of other presidents, they try to be the last one to enter the door – a fatherly gesture; there is an interesting video clip of Chairman Yassier Arafat and PM Ehud Barak jostling to be the last one to enter a room at Camp David. The sight of President George W Bush gently pushing PM Gordon Brown into Number 10 Downing Street before himself angered some British political experts.

Statesmanship is a game because image is everything in international politics. A country’s image depends a lot on the demeanor of its leader. President Barak Obama likes to pat other leaders on their back after greeting them; you thought that was an unplanned coincidence? Just remember, how your father used to pat you on the back when you were a good boy!

It is said that Bill Clinton failed to get a good deal at his summit with Boris Yelsin in Moscow because President Clinton having sprained his ankle arrived in Moscow on a wheelchair. The sight of a sick American president is said to have psychologically emboldened Boris Yelsin. Ghana is said to have regained its respect in West Africa when President J.J. Rawlings arrived at the 25th Organization of African Unity meeting in Togo in July 2000 in a military uniform portraying a very youthful image.

The presidency is acted on a world stage. What a president says and does is very important!

When Joyce Banda took over the presidency, she made it appear like Malawi will now be doing everything the donor community tells her to do. In fact some British newspapers were so pleasantly surprised with this that they called us ‘a donor fearing nation’.

President Joyce Banda went to London and even bowed before Queen Elizabeth, a very strange gesture considering that both are heads-of-state. Well, all these words and actions have now collectively given an image of a weak leadership in Malawi. The world has sensed blood. Now Tanzania has decided it is time to split up the lake. Notice that they did not bring up this crazy idea when Muluzi or Mutharika were in charge.

If we dignify Tanzania’s unreasonable request, one wonders what the next thing will be. Are they now going to claim Chitipa? Will Mozambique now claim Mulanje Mountain?

Government must make clear that no part of Malawi is up for discussion – full stop! It is time to show strength. Tell Tanzania that Lake Malawi was, is and will always be Malawian.

Surprisingly, after all these arrogant statements by the Tanzania government, our government’s response is at best a whimper. The minister of foreign affairs has issued a statement saying the issue will be settled ‘amicably’. Really, Mr. Minister? What could be an amicable statement? Are you planning to even dignify Tanzania’s unreasonable demand? Do you plan to divide up the lake? How can you have an amicable settlement to an unreasonable demand?




  1. Malawi to me sounds like something along the lines of a dark country. So old fashioned mistaken for discipline

    You Malawians still have a lot of catching up to do as reflected by the insanity of your claim. You want the whole lake to yourselves are out of your minds or what?

  2. So who do you want to fool that there is no tribalism in Tanzania? Not me of course for I have so much evidence about tribalism in TZ. You are just sitting on a time-bomb that will explode one day because it has been suppressed for so long. Be honest with me, are other tribes in TZ comfortable with the Chaggas? Are you aware that the Chaggas wanted to form their own republic in Northern Tanzania? They even had their own influential king who posed threat to Nyerere. Why did Nyerere abolish all traditional chieftainships? To date all you have are mere ceremonial chieftainships. Are you aware that it is almost impossible to get a radio licence for other smaller languages in TZ? I am reliably aware that those tribes with their cousins across your borders rely on the latter to listen to radios in their languages.

    All these facts point to the fact that your political system is so artificial. It deliberately suppresses other smaller tribes and you claim not to have tribalism. Wait until Civic United Front (CUF) or Chama Cha Maendeleo (Chadema) come to power. For CUF, I know their first move will be to delink Zanzibar from your fake Nyerere-Karume union. Currently, you are a de facto one party state. You have not yet tasted real democracy and its challenges. No matter how long it will take, you will remember these words I have just spoken.

  3. Malawians the name alone makes me sick to my stomach! You work as domestic servants in South Africa, lady’s job! Can you imagine? Thus I wasn’t surprised when I heard Malawi recognise gay rights.

    On a serious note though, waters of Lake Nyasa touch our land. We therefore have riparian rights. In other words we’re equally entitled to the claim of ownership of the lake

    Malawians are so pathetic! David Livingstone called that lake Nyasa in 1859 but you decided to change it because you want it all to yourselves!

  4. Dear malawians, unfortunatelly you can not choose neighbours when it comes to national boundaries. That imaginary ideas that you would rather share borders is childish. You are stuck with us for life. Now it is up to you, you make piece with us or face the wrath of war. You are waking up the sleeping giant here, it is a slipperry slope, be careful.
    Your countrymen up north wants to join with Tanzania because your tribalism. And then you have the nerve of wishing to border with Kenya ? Are you kidding me ? Do you know the tribal issues they have ? Pray to your good God that we are acitng as a buffer zone here. Otherwise your mess together with that of Kenya, equals to volcanic mess year round. Come up wuth something else. That one was a miss.

  5. ome on spawk. Be yourself. You are now praying that malawi could have shared the border with Kenya ? Huh ! What creepy idea is that ? And then what would you be giving that cry baby for, the amboseli or masai mara ? I see you are at it again, trying to pick up a man who you believe can do better scratching your butt. You little bastard hommo . Get a class. We are fed up with that stinky little ass of yours. And this time around, we are determined to drown your asshole in lake Malawi for good. Stupid motherfucker.
    The old guys are gonne, this young generation don`t give a fuck about you homosexuals.
    Why don`t you start by arguing with your mps who are currentnly in Tz asking for mercy.

  6. I am afraid that most of “us”, be it Malawians or Tanzanians, who are “praying” for war, have never even been closer to a war zone! Guys, a war is something very different from “riot police operations”. I did a research in a refugee camp (Congolese refugees in western Tanzania), a war is not something to hope for. Of course if it happens, you have no choice but to back your soldiers… never the less, that is not like a video game… I was also lucky to have a feel of being near to a place where live arms exercises were being conducted (Kigoma – Tanzania)… That tremour was itself scary, eventhough I knew that it was just a peaceful military exercise…!! Yes, we have sent peope to missions in Comoros, Congo, Lebanon, Liberia, Darfur and many other places… never the less, as an African, I want to preserve Nyerere’s thinking that our Military should be only for defence… I do not want to see my fellow Afrians suffer for something which can be sorted out simply through reasoning

  7. “We TANZANIAN shall defend our land whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on lake, shore, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender.”-Unknown

  8. For u claiming tz to have tribalism,u are a cheap ass i can so speak! Tz is a swahl speaking country,there no body doesnt knw to speak it,ur idea of local l’ge radio can be stupid enough! We are one nation that’s u can found a chaga living in sukuma land pieceful and viceversa! AND FOR U MALAWIANS,tell ur lesbian lady prezoo,wl beat u in just 4 hrs and take ur prezoo a concubine to our males! U are so stupid u gays! We wl show u a lesson,never dare to play tzs!

  9. I real do not support war. True mens come together, sit and talk to find solutions. It is also not too bad to defend your land when situations alow. There’s stil enough time to resolve issues peacefully.

  10. Hi people, I wonder what we are confronting for! This is just a simple matter, no one who likes war but for land, it is inevitable. If Malawians see to them they need Lake Nyasa, then let them took arms and defend the territory(water body) but if you see like you are unable to do that then shut your mouth and go on with other business. Its shame to you first to be ruled by a woman and bad enough a lesbian! Stop your mission as in Tz we are only men, no daughters!

  11. halow,i salute you in de name of mother africa,we have so much in comon dat unites us than simple maters dat disunite us,let us ask ourselves what was a status of lake nyasa/malawi before colonialisim?who made teritorial bounderies of africa?for whose interests?as africans we should find african initiatives an methodologies in solving our problems,enough with colonial legacies,we are now free an independent african countries,let us act like ones,war wont hav any advantange 2 any 1,long live africa,long live african unity!

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