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NATION on Sunday

APRIL 14 2013

NATION ON SUNDAY, 14 APRIL 2013

History of dispute in words and pictures

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

special essay

Lake Malawi provides livelihoods to millions of people

Geopolitics of water
James Chavula News Analyst
I must emphasise again there is no doubt at all about the boundary. We know that no drop of the water of Lake Nyasa belongs to Tanganyika under the terms of the [1890] agreement.Julius Nyerere, former Tanzanian president, addressing the Tanganyika Legislative Council in October 1960.

It is a legacy of our colonial history that Africa was cut like a piece of cake when the Europeans met in Berlin in 1885. Tribes, even our extended families, were split. Some tribes or clans which were historically antagonistic were lumped together in one colonial entity. Benjamin Mkapa, former president of Tanzania, speaking in Malawi in 2003.

alawis number one lake is not just a stunning tourism destination. The fresh waters of what Malawians knew as Lake Nyasa nourish millions of people along its shores and beyond as well as over 1 000 fish species. When Scottish missionary explorer Dr David Livingstone saw the lake in 1859, he christened it Lake of Stars. Yet, this inviting image masks a simmering border spat which spans over a century when Malawi was a British colony and Tanganyika part of the German East African domain. In the stand-off, alternatively called a colonial-made dispute, Malawi is asserting full ownership of the lake except the south-eastern stretch in Mozambique while Tanzania is claiming the northeastern half on its shores. Malawis 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

...Malawi, Tanzania border wrangle in perspective


separated by a water body, the Africa and Nyasaland on the boundary lies in the middle of Tanzanian shore, according to the first volume of The Map of the water source. According to the Anglo- Africa in 1909. A subsequent Anglo-German German Treaty, the boundary agreement of follows the 1901 on the course of the partition of Ruvuma to the Nyasaland and point of the Malawis Ta n g a n y i k a confluence of the argument is ( Ta n z a n i a Msinje; thence it based on a July M a i n l a n d ) runs westward modified the bank to Lake Nyasa; 1 1890 treaty of Songwe River thence striking between Britain but said nothing northward, and Germany about the lake. it follows the The status quo that maps eastern, northern remained in force and western the boundary until the end shores of the lake between the two of World War I to the northern countries along in 1918, when bank of the losing Germany mouth of the the Tanzanian surrendered River Songwe; it shore. Tanganyika to the ascends that river British mandate to the point of of East Africa intersection by in accordance 30 degrees of east with the Versailles Treaty of longitude. This treaty, the earliest 1919. However, there were available record of the undocumented shifts of the boundary, places the border border when Tanzania was between German East placed under the United Nations (UN) Trust later. Punching holes into Malawis historical and legal claim, the division of Nyasaland into provinces comprises Proclamation 3 of 1922 defining the eastern boundary of North Nyasa to extend only to the centre of the lake. Britain cited no reason for the proclamations and delimitations dating back to 1910. However, they were repealed on December 31 1946, fixing the boundaries of all northern districts on the eastern shores of the lake. When Tanganyika gained independence in 1961, its foreign policy provided for review of all bilateral treaties validly concluded by the United Kingdom on behalf of the territory by December 8 1963. However, Malawi and Tanzania were part of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) member states summit Exclusive inquiry page 3

Photograph: james chavula

I consider such a claim and statement as rubbing salt in the wounds inflicted on the body of Malawi by imperialism and colonialism.As a result of those wounds, we have now such districts as Mbeya, Njombe and Songea to the north of uswhich geographically, linguistically and culturally belonged to Malawi and which in our forefathers time were definitely Malawi which are now outside.Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda in an address to Malawi Parliament in Zomba, on June 27 1967.

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

Down with the wallKaronga chiefs


James Chavula News Analyst

hen elders shake their heads, something should be terribly wrong. For traditional leaders in Karonga, it is mind-boggling that Tanzania is claiming ownership of the northeastern half of the fishing ground they have grown up knowing as Lake Malawi. Actually, Paramount Chief Kyungu or Mtemi wa ba Temi, as Ngondes call their king, shook his head four times when asked what he makes of the state of the relationship between Malawians and Tanzanians since the two neighbouring countries started discussing the ownership of the lake. As the leader of people of Karonga and Chitipa, we do not have any dispute. Malawians are still living in peace with our neighbours from Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique regardless of the sensational stories about the lake, said Kyungu, who accompanied President Joyce Banda to a closeddoor meeting with her Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete in August last year. The chief, who holds a Masters degree in diplomacy and international relations, is a portrait of the two countries ties. During the 1964 Cabinet uprising against Malawis founding president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere granted Kyungu and his brother Kapote Mwakasungula (now village head Kasowa) asylum. While in exile in Dar el Salaam, the Ngonde royals did not only obtain higher education but also befriended Jakaya Kikwete, the current president of Tanzania. Having been close to the seats of power in both countries and worked as chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Lilongwe, Kyungu feels the media is exaggerating a problem postindependence leaders have always

Kyungu: We live in peace with our neighbours


handled in secret. The issue of the lake came when Kamuzu and Nyerere were in power, but it fizzled out. Now, there is democracy, too much transparency and media freedom, but I hope this will die a natural death as there is no reason at all Tanzania and Malawi should go to war over the lake, he said. Village head Kasowa, who is a political science graduate, likened the conflict to a time bomb. Because the disagreements were buried, we cannot pretend they were not there. We should be surprised that they are resurfacing now, 50 years after independence, said the community leader. While acknowledging the historical value of Malawis claim to the entire lake, he said the cultural dynamics in Karonga favour the notion that adjoining water bodies are co-owned by people on its boundaries. The lake belongs to all people

Mwangomba: We are the same people


on its shores. We can fight for the oil under exploration, but when the oil dries up, we may learn it was better to share the waters as we have always done, said Kasowa. This mirrors Kyungus feelings

who said: The waters of Lake Malawi have always been shared between Malawi and Tanzania. Before the colonial people came, during colonial rule and after independence, we have always shared itand it must remain so. We should not provoke an issue which is not necessary. We have more problems to sort out now than to talk about the boundaries of Lake Malawi. We can wait until we have sorted out issues that are more urgent. The waters have always been shared; we have Tanzania on the other side and Malawi on this side. If there is anything of value in Lake Malawi may it be discussed amicably between Malawi and Tanzania. There is no need for us to start a war simply because we have found oil in the lake. It will always be shared because if there is a spill, even Tanzania will be affected. The quest for total control, rather than privileges emanating from geographical advantages, seems to be the genesis of the animosity that lies beneath the protracted face-off. Last August, President Banda disclosed that her predecessor, the late Bingu wa Mutharika, also wrote Tanzanias leader Benjamin Mkapa over the boundary issue after small conflicts were reported on the lake. People were complaining of arrests and intimidation, so he [Mutharika] wanted the countries to reaffirm the borders, Banda told the press after meeting her Tanzanian counterpart Kikwete in Mozambique. After the Mozambique meeting, Kikwete also made a commitment to pursue peaceful means of addressing the border puzzle for the benefit of the two countries. Despite the assurances and intergovernmental talks, the two governments agreed to disagree with Banda ordering Malawi out of intergovernmental talks when Exclusive inquiry page 6

Photographs: james chavula

When 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 [Tanzanians] telling them that there is no point going on with the dialogue.President Joyce Banda, speaking when she ordered Malawi out of the dialogue on October 2 2012.

If the residents of Mbamba Bay, Liuli, Lituhi, Manda, Ngonga, Matema, Mwaya, Itungi and other towns and villages along the lake are told that the water body is no longer theirs they wont understand because for generations, they have used the Lake.It is our opinion that our countries do what the Anglo-German boundary commission did not do.Jakaya Kikwete, president of Tanzania, speaking in monthly national address in September 2012.

Historical perspective of the Lake Malawi dispute


Exclusive Report page 2 in Cairo, Egypt, in 1964 that pledged to respect the national borders existing on their attainment of independence as adopted by the African Union (AU) Constitutive Act in 2000. The principle of respect for territorial integrity is repeated in the OAU Charter no less than three times. Opening the 1964 OAU Summit, Ethiopias leader, Emperor Haile Selassie, rallied heads of State to observe borders bequeathed to them by colonial masters as scrupulously as it deserves for permanent peace on the continent. A 1973 article in Cambridge University Journal of Modern African Studies by James Mayall, a lecturer in international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, shows that the Cairo Resolution was a brainchild of Tanzania. However, The Rhodesia Herald of June 5 1967 says [former president of Tanzania Julius] Nyerere claimed that Tanzanias border runs through the middle of the lake because at the turn of the century, an Anglo-Portuguese Convention included a stretch on the lake in Tanganyika. There is no mention of this in the treaty of 1891, according to Malawis legal paper submitted to the Forum for Former Heads of State and Government for mediation. Since Malawi became independent on July 6 1964, this has been a seedbed of strained diplomatic relations with its north-eastern neighbour. In his The Malawi-Tanzania Boundary Dispute, Mayall says the differences also included Nyereres feeling that Malawis founding president, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, had betrayed the emancipation struggle by dealing with white minority regimes in South Africa and Mozambique. Likewise, Banda suspected Exclusive inquiry page 4 Dr Bingu wa Mutharika wrote Tanzanias former president Benjamin Mkapa requesting that the two countries should negotiate on the borders of the lake. President Joyce Banda confirmed the cable, saying it followed arrests of Malawians and other minor incidents on the lake.

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Exclusive Report page 3 that Tanzania was aiding prominent Malawian exiles attempts to subvert his rule since it harboured Kanyama Chiume and other critics of his regime following the 1964 Cabinet crisis. But the lake issue, which became public from May 1967 to September 1968, has been a subject of policy statements and inconsistent maps by either side. An official report of the Tanganyika Legislative Council quotes a minister of land and mineral resources acknowledging that the boundary followed those described in Article II of the 1890 Treaty. Dissatisfied with the restatement, the Tanganyika government consulted the British Colonial Office for equitable distribution of the lake. But in response, the legal advisers to Britains Secretary of State for Colonies upheld that not a part of the Lake lies within the boundaries of Tanganyika. The parliamentary records quote Chief Mhaiki, a representative of Songea District, as arguing that with thousands of Tanzanians living along the lake, it was anomalous that their government should have no right over the lake. Press reports show the current president of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete reiterating this position in his state-of-thenation address in September last year, saying the 1890 agreement denies communities living along the lake natural rights over the lake and its endowments. Contributing to the heated motion, Nyererewithout denouncing Mhaikis call for equity in dividing shared waters told the legislature in October 1960 that not a drop of the water Lake Nyasa belongs to Tanganyika under the terms of the agreement. He also doubted the logic of asking the Nyasaland government to change the boundary in favour of Tanganyika. The motion was rejected and rested until November 1961, according to Tanzanias

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

How the lake Malawi dispute began


parliamentary records, when then prime minister Nyerere set out foreign policies requiring the review of international treaties after two years. When the two-year waiting expired, Mhaiki, unsurprisingly, wanted to know what steps government was taking to remove the disadvantages of the people of Tanganyika living along the lake. In response, the prime minister, now Rashid Kawawa, cited British Central Africa Exclusive inquiry page 5

Oil, not border, is the issue


James Chavula News Analyst
Snaking down the coal-rich Chiweta Escarpments in Rumphi, it is common to hear travellers praising the picturesque views of Lake Malawi. But when a recent traveller publicly proclaimed it daylight robbery and provocative that Tanzania is claiming half of the northern tip of the physical feature largely marketed as Malawis prime tourism attraction, she was greeted by dead silencesave for a businessperson who had come all the way from Blantyre. There is no need to talk about partitioning the lake because we have grown up knowing it is entirely owned by us, Malawians. Why should Tanzania start claiming part of the lake about 50 years after Malawis independence? the trader asked the mass in the bus destined for Karonga. Save for the fishers who claim suffering detentions and beatings at the hands of security officers on the purportedly Tanzanian side of the lake, a consensus is emerging in the border district that who owns Lake Malawi is not the tensest issue confronting their lives. The lakeshore community says they are more worried about oil exploration Malawi is conducting in the contentious waters the neighbouring country claims to be its territory. We only hear the border dispute on radios and in newspapers. Urban dwellers might be justified to worry about it, but we want to know what will happen to the water and fish if the explorer discovers there is oil in the lake, said Paramount Chief Kyungus advisor, Stebbins Mwalilino, 80, of Mwamalopa Village near Karonga Boma. The octogenarian said he first learnt about the disagreement during his recent trip to Tanzania, but insisted that their bond with promised them in 2009. Paladin chief executive officer for international affairs Greg Walker has repeatedly said his firm has invested heavily in setting up the mine and fulfilling its social responsibility. But the civil society, some opposition parties and locals want the so-called bad deal renegotiated to raise government stakes for the benefit of the melting economy. Lamented village head Kasowa: Like the uranium project, the oil project may end up benefiting a clique of high-placed decision makers and a rich multinational company, but the lake has since time immemorial benefitted all of the people on its borders. Those that have no taps for water depend on Lake Malawi. Those that have no land consider it their farm. They have always fed their families and sent our children to school from the proceeds of the lake. Will we sacrifice a rare public treasure for the gain of a few people? Kayunga is one of the villages which have no taps and boreholes. According to residents, they depend on the lake for fishing and water for domestic use. A trip to the beachside village takes visitors to locals filling pails with water as well as men and women working together to mend the nets, boats and other fishing gear in anticipation for their usual fishing sprees. I dont have any arable land; the lake is my nthamba (granary). That is why I would love our governments to solve the problem amicably and protect our fish from the side effects of the oil they are searching for. I am afraid the hunt for oil will disturb several lives like mine, said Simon Katawa Mtawali. Mtawali, who reportedly had his fishing gear confiscated and Exclusive inquiry page 11

Mwalilino: We only hear about the dispute in the media


Tanzanians remains intact. Mwalilino hailed the visiting community from Tanzania for always coming to Karonga residents rescue in times of food shortages and bringing more durable goods than the Chinese. To the younger generation, it is a clear-cut case that the lake belongs to Malawi and find it strange that there is a potential unrest over who owns what part of the water body. If a neighbours dairy cow stands on the boundary with two legs in your yard, does half of it become yours or can you start milking it without raising questions from onlookers? wondered Arthur Kalambo. His namesake, Irene, added: As a natural endowment, the lake is meant to benefit everyone along its shores, but all my life I have been told that the whole of it belongs to Malawi. But if there is really some oil, how will government protect the lake which acts as a garden and goldmine for most of us? Such are the prevalent perspectives of the locals whose livelihood revolves around over 1000 fish species found in the lake. Men usually go fishing while women are increasingly rising to the potential of raising their lives through fish mongering. To both groups, the lake is more than just a border separating Malawi from Tanzania and Mozambique. It is their granary, well and goldmine. The dispute over the lake shot into public focus in 2011 when

Kasowa: The oil may end up benefitting few people


government licensed British firm, Surestream Petroleum, to explore oil and gas in the sector Tanzania claims to be its territory. As Tanzania was pushing hard for a halt to the oil search, Malawi granted the second largest exploration license to South African company, SacOil last December. Karonga residents, already feeling cheated by uranium mining at Kayerekera in the district, wonder how they stand to benefit from prospects of drilling oil in the lake. Apart from government owning 15 percent equity in the mine run by Paladin Africa Limited, locals say they are yet to get all the schools, free water supply and hospitals the investor

Photographs: james chavula

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

Love defies borders


James Chavula News Analyst
It is around 5pm near Beach Chamber, one in a series of stunning spots where Karonga residents call Lake Malawi their fountain of life. As fishers are busy mending and packing their fishing gear into boats in readiness for another outing into one of the worlds premier fresh water body, a big vessel arrives, much to the elation and ululation of onlookers. In the boat are two arrivals that excite the lakeshore community as the governments of Malawi and Tanzania wait for the Forum for Former Heads of State and Government to mediate in the Lake Malawi boundary dispute. First, the vessel marks the return of two canoes that strayed into Tanzanian soil on a stormy night a few days earlier. Second, it is the arrival of their daughter, one of the many Malawians married across the contentious water body. When I first heard about the dispute on radio, I started fearing for my life and marriage. I did not know how my in-laws and neighbours would receive the news considering that my country seems determined to maintain its sole ownership of the lake, said Witness Kondowe, 20, who married Olesto Mwaiyeghere of Ikombe, Tanzania, in 2008. She said they have two childrenthe faces of the deep-rooted ties at stake as the neighbouring countries continue making headlines for a border wrangle that has hit the surface nearly 50 years after their independence in the early1960s. Their marriages present several dimensions of enduring neighbourliness that exists between the countries split by what Malawians know as Lake Malawi and Tanzanians call Lake Nyasa. According to Kondowe, their love story started with a year of flirtations when Mwaiyeghere came to Kayunga in Karonga to do the income-generating activity most Tanzanians usually do alongside Malawians: Fishing. It was hard to leave the country I call home, but marriage is not about war. Its love. After all, Tanzanians and Malawians have always been one people, she said, adding: There is need for our leaders to be understanding to reach a common ground for the sake of our lives and children. It is apparent that Kondowe is aware of the consequences of border disputes on human relationships. It is an issue the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU), acknowledged in a 1964 resolution which calls on

Long journey of lake wrangle


Exclusive Report page 4 Order-in-Council of 1902 to stress Nyereres position that no part of the lake fell within the boundaries of Tanganyika. If there are to be negotiations on this question, they must be with the government of Nyasaland and must wait until the attainment by Nyasaland of full independence, suggested Kawawa. There is no evidence of Tanzanias approaches, but The Standard of Dar es Salaam in August 1966 reported that there were a series of bilateral ministerial talks that were called off in August 1966 after Kamuzu Banda had claimed that Tanzania was fed up with Malawi refugees and wanted to get rid of them. However, Nyerere announced the reversal of Tanzanias position in an address to high school pupils at Iringa on May 31 1967. According to The Nationalist, he declared that Tanzania did not recognise the shore border, claiming: The boundary was changed by the British during the declaration of the Rhodesia Federation but they had no right whatsoever to do this because Tanzania was a Trust Territory. And BBC World broadcasts indicate that on January 3 the same year Tanzania complained about some maps showing the 1890 boundary. In the rhetorical cable, the East African country wished to inform the Government of Malawi that Tanzania has no claim over the waters of the lake beyond the median of the lake. Twenty-one days later, Dr Banda had promised to consider the matter and reply. However, Nyereres public announcement at Iringa so irked him that he likened Tanzanias claims to rubbing salt in the wounds inflicted on the body by imperialism and colonialism because the boundaries under dispute are not natural. As a result of these wounds we have now such districts as Mbeya, Njombe and Songea to the north of uswhich geographically, linguistically and culturally belonged to Malawi and which Exclusive inquiry page 6

Kondowe: Marriage is not about war


member States, including Malawi and Tanzania, to respect borders inherited from their colonial masters. Bupe Nyamaki, who comes from the banks of Songwe River in Tanzania, is a widow of her compatriot, called Sha Kyala, who died in 2009. One of her co-wives is Malawian Martha Mwahimba and another Tanzanian Nema Mpela. During a recent visit to her residence in Mwengwegho Village in Karonga, she told Nation on Sunday that all is well in the multicultural compound despite the Lake Malawi dispute dominating media and village debate. Testifying to their equality despite different origins, their husband left the women with similar houses, three-bedroom structures built of burnt bricks and with iron roofs. They raise their children and do business together for their survival. During the interview with Nyamaki, Mpela and Mwahimba had travelled to Chitipa to sell fish. We stay well with our Malawian friends, including my fellow wives. If there are problems, we talk to each other and try to find a lasting solution, said the mother of three who comes from Matema, Kyela District in Tanzania, where most business people in Karonga buy their merchandise. She recalled meeting Sha Kyala at Ngerenge Rice Scheme north of Karonga where her aunt and his mother were part of the bustling mix of Malawians Exclusive inquiry page 12

Nyamaki: We live well with my co-wives

Photographs: james chavula

Photographs: james chavula

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

Chiefs speak out on Lake Malawi dispute


Exclusive Report page 4 more harassment of Malawian fishers on the so-called Tanzanian block of the lake resurfaced barely two months later. Village head Mwangwegho, while insisting that the lake belongs to Malawi, said dialogue should be given a chance for the sake of peaceful co-existence. People of Karonga are living in uncertainty when history is clear the lake is ours. When [Scottish missionary explorer] Dr David Livingstone arrived in Malawi [in 1859], Yaos told him the lake is called Nyasa. Tanzanians call it Nyasa as well, but they only use it because they live by its beaches. [But] we should not irritate our neighbours and we must continue living in harmony as we have always done. By the way, we do not only share borders, but business ties, fishing grounds and children, said the traditional leader. Mwangwegho warned that the rural poor who live near the lake may be the major losers when border wrangles escalate. In this line, he blamed European countries scramble for Africa for the ill-defined borders that cause unrest among neighbouring nations with people of related tribes. By contrast, Europe is well known for balkanisation, the process which led to the split of Austria-Hungary, Czech-Slovakia into smaller nationsCzech Republic, Slovenia, Austria and Hungarywhich have shared languages, geography and aspirations. Winston Mwagomba, head of the Karonga Museum, said people of Karonga and the neighbouring Kyela across the lake would have been one nation had the colonial powers opted to balkanise Tanzania and Malawi. He said the similarity of their languages, origins, culture, coexistence, food and geographical proximity is pronounced in trade, fishing and other spheres of life. Culturally, the people of both sides speak Ngonde and Nyakyusa and trace our roots to Uganda. We eat similar dishes, live along the same stretch and do several things together. The likes of Mwalwandas, Mwangombas, Chihaules, Mwafulirwas, Mponelas and Kayiras crossed the lake to settle in Karonga, said Mwagomba. Nonetheless, the cultural argument transcends the borders that, he said, should not be imprisoned by the wall in the waters being bundled about as border. According to Tanzanias Daily News, traditional leaders in Kyela put the shared identity into perspectiveat least from their anglewhen backing their governments position to get a portion of the lake: Nyakyusas are highlanders who occupy a territory formerly occupied by Ngondes who migrated across the lake after losing a tribal war in 1840. We are basically the same people and claims that we have no right to the lake because of a 1890 treaty between Germans and the British are extremely alien to us, said one of the elders when Tanzanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe visited them to seek their input on the dispute. n

Mwangwegho: Lets live in harmony

Lake Malawi spat from 1960s


Exclusive inquiry page 5 in our forefathers time, in our ancestors time, were definitely Malawi but which are now outside our borders, said Dr Banda in Parliament in Zomba on June 27 1967. Recent media reports in Tanzania show elders in Mbeya and Songeya only admit ties with some tribes in Malawi, but deny ever being part of Nyasaland. Others think Malawi is using the on-andoff lake dispute as a ruse to reclaim the stretches singled out by Dr Banda. Yet, Tanzania has always been a claimant, but Dr Banda vowed never to recognise or accept the claim that the lake should be divided through the median line. We will never agree to the suggestion or proposal. The lake has always belonged to Malawi, he asserted in the address available in Malawi News of July 6 1967. Dr Banda also reminded Tanzania that Mozambique did not claim Villa Cabral and other parts of the lake as of right, but gave up a piece of land in exchange for the waters. This seemed to have calmed the war of words about natural frontiers, but the issue flared up again in September 1968. According to The Standard, Dr Banda, at a rally in the border district of Chitipa, pointed towards Tanzania, saying: That is my land over thereTukuyu, Njombe and Songea, all of them must be

Lake Malawi serves people of both countries in many ways


given back. Nyerere, according to The Nationalist, reacted in personal terms: Bandas claim must not be ignored simply because he was insane. The powers behind him are not insane. At the 1968 annual MCP convention, Dr Banda did not only accuse the Tanzanian leader of being a coward pretending to be a staunch supporter of the OAU when he was actually the worst agitator and betrayer of the OAU cause. He also announced plans to put gunboats to patrol the lake, a statement for which Nyerere dubbed him an expansionist and provocateur in a cable to London. This temporarily put the public showdown to rest as Tanzania started rearming its defence force. Although it has not been widely acknowledged, the issue resurfaced during the reign of Bakili Muluzi, Exclusive inquiry page 7

Photograph: james chavula

Photograph: james chavula

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

Business without borders


James Chavula News Analyst
rom a business perspective, Karonga is an encounter with Malawi and Tanzania living happily together despite undercurrents of a border dispute over Lake Malawi. People of the two countries do not only intermarry and speak similar languagesSwahili, Ngonde and Nyakyusabut also do business together in peace. Venture into the districts main market, Tanzanians constitute about half of the business community and some of them say Malawi is the land where their dreams come true. For citizens of the neighbouring country, the border district represents a fertile business destination due to its proximity to their country and Malawians love for whitecollar jobs over vending. I cant imagine Malawi and Tanzania going to war over Lake Malawi. We are one people. That would only destroy the good relationship we have enjoyed for years, said a Tanzanian who sells second-hand clothes at the market. The small-scale businessperson refused to be named, not because the issue is emotive in the district. It is because he is one of the Tanzanians living and doing business in the country without requisite permitsa crime punishable by deportation under the countrys immigration laws. Some of his compatriots have

Songwe border is a thriving business area for both Malawians and Tanzanians
married Malawians after years of doing various businesses in the marketplace, dark corners and neighbouring communities. Save for the pronunciation of specific words, it is not easy for visitors to distinguish Malawians from Tanzanians in the Northern Region town. Their shared languages tell a tale of two worlds that have become one over the decades. That the two sides of the divide depend on each other is clear in the movement of goods across the boundary. The two-way traffic includes Tanzanians importing sugar, rice, plastic utensils, confectionaries and other manufactured goods. On the other hand, Malawians import truckloads of watercooling clay pots called ukisi, vegetables, fruits, potatoes, second-hand clothes, jeans wear and electronic appliances. Apart from the fact that almost half of the vendors in the main market are Tanzanians, over 75 percent of the goods on sale come from Tanzania. This is a sign that our relationship with Tanzania goes beyond the questions of who owns the lake, said Pastor Robert Mbewe of Christ New Ministries who has lived in the district since 1997. Most business people complain that reports of the Lake Malawi dispute briefly plunged the two

communities into uncertainty last year. However, Mbewe urged the governments of Tanzania and Malawi to pursue peaceful means of ending the simmering standoff. The uncertainty is no more, but that is no reason for the two governments to terminate the ongoing dialogue. When neighbouring countries disagree, business and investment suffer, he said. The vegetable section of the market is one of the few areas without Tanzanians, but nearly all cabbages, tomatoes and onions come from the northern neighbours. The district is endowed with vast water resources, agriculture schemes and other wetlands. According to Susan Mapingo, who heads the vegetables section, they prefer imported foodstuffs because they are cheap and the districts weather is not favourable for production of some of them. There are no Tanzanians in the vegetable section, but the benches would be almost empty if our border with Tanzania closed for a week. That would spell doom for Malawians who sell green foods for their income and livelihoods, she said. The sentiments were echoed by fruit seller Twilike Ipopo, one of the few Malawians on the neighbouring subdivision where avocado pears, beans, bananas and plantains are not Exclusive inquiry page 10

History of border dispute


Exclusive Report page 6 according to Kikwete. When Bakili Muluzi was elected [in 1994], new efforts were made but they did not pay off. On June 9 2005, Malawis third president, Bingu wa Mutharika, who is now dead, wrote a letter to former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa and advised him that our two countries should negotiate on the border of Lake Nyasa, said Kikwete in his monthly address in September 2012. The speech of Nyereres successor and Muluzis counterpart at the time Benjamin William Mkapa at Mzuzu University on May 3 2003 acknowledged that it is a legacy of our colonial history that Africa was cut like a piece of cake when the Europeans met in Berlin. Tribes and even our extended families were split. Some tribes and clans that were historically antagonistic were lumped together, he said, explaining: The European countries meeting in Berlin [in 1885] imposed on Africa political boundaries that in effect gave different nationalities to people of the same family clan and tribe and put some historical enemies together. But the ruinous aftermath of the fragmentation and scramble for Africa has caught up with Malawis incumbent leader Joyce Banda. Last August, she told Even locals in Karonga the media that Mutharika once wrote Mkapa on the refuse to sacrifice their need to reaffirm borders vibrant fishing industry and fresh following water for some small oil drilling. conflicts, N o t arrests and The European because intimidation countries meeting a similar of Malawians in Berlin [in 1885] venture in on the lake. imposed on Africa the oil-rich H e r political boundaries Niger Delta government that in effect in Nigeria has been at gave different is no the centre gateway to of dialogue nationalities to a f t e r people of the same prosperity, but they Ta n z a n i a family clan and feel it will a s k e d tribeand put only benefit M a l a w i some historical foreign to stop enemies together. m u l t i Surestream nationals Pe t r o l e u m such as from continuing with the ongoing the Kayerekera Uranium exploration of oil and Mine in Karonga where gas in the north-eastern government gets only 15 quarter of the lake under percent. Tanzania, the third dispute. largest producer of gold on the continent, also gives economics students a good example of how African resources benefit foreign firms. It gets less than 10 percent of gold revenues. However, Malawi government has vowed to press on with the oil and gas prospecting. The two governments terminated border reaffirmation talks after the publication of a new map in Tanzania and reports of Malawian fishers being waylaid in the purportedly Tanzanian strip of the lake. It was due to this that the matter was referred to the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government for mediation. Professor Mwesiga Beregu, a political scientist with extensive experience in international conflict resolution, advises politicians to play a mature and diplomatic approach to find a lasting solution and avoid soiling bilateral ties, warning it will be a big shame if Tanzania and Malawi go to war over the boundary on the lake. This is not a new dispute. I can recall in 1960 we almost went to war. I suggest that our leaders should avoid provocations, the academic, based at St Augustine University in Tanzania, told that countrys The Daily News last August. So here it is. As history has demonstrated, the Lake Malawi issue is a long, winding and convoluted story that will probably never reach a decisive and conclusive end. n

Photograph: james chavula

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James Chavula News Analyst

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

s fish volumes continue to decline in Lake Malawi, delving deeper into the bluish waters might be the way to go for fishers searching for a better catch. But the fishing folk of Chakwera near Kiwe in Karonga seem to disagree because Tanzanian authorities detained some of them and confiscated their fishing gear on October 23 2012. Survivors of the incident and most fishing communities rank the scene as the lowest point in the neighbouring countries ongoing talks over the ownership of the 29 600-square-kilometre lake that straddles the borders of Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. Among them, Kumwenda brothersKelvin Ngoto, Lowani and Duncansay they were terrified last November during a Tanzanian police raid on their fishing boats. By dawn, our boats were running short of fuel, so we stopped on the Tanzanian side to sell our small catch and refuel our boats. We were resting on the beach when five armed men in camouflage uniform took away our friends, boats and fishing gear, recalled Kelvin, one of the seven that escaped the raid. Kelvin and Duncan said they escaped after some beatings and harassment on an uncharted route that cuts through hostile villages all the way to Songwe Border. They said Lowani and six others were beaten as they waited to be handed over to police officers at Kyela, Tanzania, where they spent a night in a cell. Although Tanzanian government officials say the groups captors were fisheries officials in civilian clothes, the Kumwendas parents decried the raid as a double loss. I couldnt imagine my son Medson losing fishing nets which benefit our extended family, but it was nothing more agonising than hearing that my sons were either in police hands or on the run in a foreign land, said their father Tickson Kumwenda. Also impounded were fishing equipment belonging to Simon Katawa Mtawali, whose crew accounted for four of the people arrested. The fishers reported their case at Kiwe Police Post. They said they have been interrogated by high-profile delegations of Malawis police detectives, intelligence officials as well as the Office of the President and Cabinet. Still, they described their relationship with their northeastern neighbours as calm and normal despite the tension their story stirred. Tracing the Lake Malawi beach

People from the two countries fish in the same waters of the lake

Fishing together in stormy waters


return, but the matter is being handled by my superiors in the police service along with their counterparts in OPC. All I can say is that the situation has remained calm and my post has registered no case of vengeance, crime or disturbance bordering on the lake ownership debate, he said. On the Tanzanian side, the Daily News quoted Mbeya regional police officer Abbas Kandoro as saying everything was under control and there is no need to worry. Despite the assurances, fisher Aaron Chidambo, 53, reckons the arrests have plunged the fishing community into uncertainty. Readying his boats for a night on the waters of the lake along with his sons and employees, the veteran fisher said the the strife is worrisome, especially in times of bad weather. We do not know what will happen to us when we are blown away to the other side or when we find ourselves across Exclusive inquiry page 10
Photograph: james chavula

A woman and her children prepare a net for another fishing foray in the lake
from Ngala Fishing Village to Chakwera, Nation on Sunday saw a myriad of Tanzanians fishing and readying their nets side by side with locals. Like many, Duncan Kumwenda estimated that four in every 10 fishers are Tanzanians, saying even more pour in between August and November. Tanzanians are our brothers and sisters. When they come, we fish together. We do several businesses together. But the arrests go a long way to show what we have always been worried about: They tend to be confrontational when we step on the soil bordering Lake Malawi and their country, said Duncan. Kiwe Police officer-in-charge, Superintendent Darlington Chingaipe, confirmed receiving official complaints from the affected fishers. However, Chingaipe refused to give details because it was already being handled by investigators in high places. They reported the matter here soon after their safe

Photograph: james chavula

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

Songwe: No river between


James Chavula News Analyst
of Songwe have been a cause of a brewing border dispute between the two countries. But with the As Tanzanian and Malawian borderline re-demarcated and political heavyweights wrestle marked with beacons, all the talk for the ownership of the north- seems to have shifted to the lake. Malawi claims 100 percent eastern part of Lake Malawi, a group of women sells their nuts, ownership of the water mass oranges and bananas on Songwe called Lake Malawi in the country Bridge which marks the border and Lake Nyasa in Tanzania. On the other hand, Tanzania between the two countries. claims sovereignty over The business folk, with the North Eastern half children on their backs, of the lakethe stretch have little to worry about capping Mozambiques the longstanding dispute waters that surround that some government Going Likoma and Chizumulu and military officials fear Islands. could mature into a fully to war Last year, President fledged war between the will only Joyce Banda fired a neighbours who have make warning short, saying co-existed for decades of We are ready to die for self-rule. Malawi our country. I dont see why and Equally categorical Malawi and Tanzania Tanzania were the neighbours, should go to war over a with East African lake that unites us. If that poorer Cooperation Minister happens, my business and a John Samuel Sitta will collapse and my laughing telling that countrys family will suffer untold Parliament: The matter stock misery, said one woman, has been ignored but switching to a group of Tanzania should stay customers crossing over awake in defending into Tanzania. its borders in case of This is the prevailing feeling at the border which is anything while avoiding military called Songwe on the Malawian interventions. Despite the emotive war side and Kasumulo in Tanzania. According to an immigration of words, the atmosphere of official on the Malawian soil, calmness and interdependence at about 300 people cross the river the border could be a signal that everyday and the figures have the ties between the two countries not dropped even after the silent remain unscathed by the politics dispute went public in July, 2012. surrounding the third largest lake For years, changes in the course on the continent.

Businessmen carry bales of suger across the border into Tanzania

Mwanyongo: Going to war will make us poorer


Going to war will only make Malawi and Tanzania poorer and a laughing stock, said Rodney Mwanyongo, who runs a sugar and liquor wholesale on the Malawian side of the border. The peaceful skyline over the border spot differs sharply from the war-mongering language among politicians. Mwanyongo said the situation has remained calm and people whose livelihoods hinge on both sides continue with their businesses undisrupted. Tanzanians and Malawians have been partners in business from the time of the slave trade. All the talk about the lake dispute is much ado about nothing. It does not bring money into our pockets, he said. A recent visit to the border post revealed normalcy even on the black market deals that has flourished on the boundaries of the official checkpoints. Travellers between Malawi and Tanzania cross the bridge without any obstruction. Running parallel to the visa office, the hustle and bustle includes cyclists and porters

carrying loads of sugar bales, plastic utensils, liquor sachets and other goods. On the legal entry point, there are truckloads of fuel, queues of second-hand cars and loads of cementa hint at the centrality of the Northern Corridor which has almost replaced the BlantyreBeira Railway that is rusting and suffering looting due to disuse in the past 20 years. The cargo going towards Tanzania includes maize which is in short supply and on high demand in the country. Our interaction is just normal despite the brewing conflict. No Malawian truck driver has been attacked as a result of the lake ownership wrangle, said a driver waiting to clear a truckload of timber at Songwe. Affirming the safety of travellers, Phiri, a businessperson who owns cross-border trucks, implored the two governments to resolve the conflict amicably and swiftly. The lake issue is a muted subject as Malawians and Tanzanians have always depended on one another, but the lengthy talks are casting uncertainty on the business community, potential investors and importers. Until government tells us what is going on, businesspeople will remain worried that the neighbouring countries can go to war. As a matter of fact, there are Exclusive inquiry page 10

Photograph: james chavula

Photograph: james chavula

Business thrives amid lake dispute


Exclusive Report page 7 just a common sight but also another of Tanzanias contributions to the equation. Our business is Tanzanian produce. Nearly all the people in the fruit benches are Tanzanians or Swahili speakers. Before emotions start fraying over the lake, we should look at how we depend on one another. Without our trade links, some of us would go to bed hungry, our children would be out of school and I dont know how we would survive, said Ipopo. Not surprisingly, some Malawian traders feel the influx of Tanzanians, especially since the fall of the one-party rule of Kamuzu Banda in 1993, Kafuwa. A typical feature of is exposing them to unfair self-crowned competition for land, Malawis customers, housing and status as the Warm Heart of Africa, the other resources. It is surprising that situation hints at cracks Tanzanians live and in the enforcement of the immigration trade without proper countrys documents, yet holders of laws. In the border town, Malawian passports are police and usually arrested and fined Malawis for flimsy reasons when Exclusive we enter Tanzania, said electronics vendor Justin inquiryt page 11
Photograph: james chavula

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NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

Songwe links Malawians, Tanzanians


Exclusive Report page 8 several Tanzanians on the Malawians side where warehouses and smugglers havens exist side by side. A police officer on check estimated that about three in every 10 people running businesses on the Malawian side are Tanzanians. They are almost one people. They have relatives on either side of the Songwe and they do a lot of business together, said the officer. This is the prime dilemma of Josiah Mwangoshi, 52, who remembers belonging to two villages on either side of the Songwe. My village is right along Songwe River and I remember that when the river used to shift its course, we would migrate to the Tanzanian side and return when the river shifted again, Mwangoshi told IPS amid reports of Tanzanian security agents waylaying and attacking Malawian fishers. While Tanzania denies attacking Malawians, Mwangoshi reported being afraid of arrests, saying: I can no longer live and fish on the Tanzanian side where I also have a family, because its now clear that the dispute is very deep. On the Tanzanian side of the divide, you can hardly spot Malawians owning a shop at Kisumulo Immigration Post. The daring few perch in drinking places to party and do what is supposed to be an illegal business by Malawian standardsexchanging foreign currency. Malawians lack a business culture, but Tanzanians dont care where they do business, said Rehema Frank, a restaurant-cum-bartender who has worked in Karonga and Mzuzu for years. Thanks to Taifasthe people of Tanzania that have flooded the border district as well as Mzuzu, Nkhata Bay and RumphiSwahili is spreading into the interior of the Northern Region. Owing to the prevailing peaceful co-existence, the people of the two countries are already living the gospel Malawis President Joyce Banda and Tanzanias Jakaya Kikwete brought from their peace talks in Mozambique recently. n

Mapingo: We buy a lot from Tanzania

Fishing unites Malawians, Tanzanians amid tension


Exclusive inquiry page 10 the lake due to unforeseen occurrences, said the resident of Chakwera. He fishes with some of his seven children along the northern part of the lake which he calls his farm and goldmine. We cannot afford to live in endless uncertainty. As Malawians, we have grown up knowing the whole lake is ours and Tanzanians only use it because they live close to it. They are always welcome on our side; why should it be a crime for us to stop on their beaches? wondered Chidambo. His question captures a popular feeling among the lakeshore community who ask where Tanzanian authorities get the power to enforce law and order on the lake. Acting district fisheries officer Marison Bezai was part of the Karonga district commissioners entourage that went to Kyela to negotiate the release of the Kiwe fishers. The Malawian crew was accused of fishing without a licence and using inappropriate nets with fine mesh. When our official [a Mr SN Mphande] went there to reclaim the nets, our Tanzanian counterparts forced him to sign a document consenting that half of the lake belongs to Tanzania. This was very strange because Tanzania has no power to patrol the waters of Lake Malawi or to impound property, said Bazai. The Fisheries Act makes it illegal for foreigners to ply on the countrys waters without a license. Bazai said the law usually applies to big firms as small-scale fishers operate willy-nilly because of their proximity to the lake. Enforcement of such laws requires routine patrols. However, district fisheries inspectorate manager Mulunga Chizumila explained that their operations are crippled by a lack of proper speed boats. Although Tanzania seems to be patrolling the half they claim to be theirs, we hardly have the necessary equipment and will to cross to the waters that are under dispute, said Chizumila. n

Duncan Kumwenda: Tanzanians are our brothers and sisters

Tanzanians arrested his son: Tickson Kumwenda

Photograph: james chavula

Photograph: james chavula

NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

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Photograph: james chavula

Mbewe: Our relationship with Tanzania is deep

KA market through the lens

Most of the tomatoes sold at Karonga Market come from Tanzania

Business trumps Lake Malawi dispute


Exclusive inquiry page 9 immigration officers often stage sweeping exercises to get rid of illegal immigrants. Amid the cries for tighter security, the fact that remnant illegal immigrants go as far as doing business without any hindrance could be symptomatic of Malawians love for quick money, said John Dayton, leader of the Kaunjika section of the market. Formerly, all the stalls were distributed to Malawians, but most of them have ended up reselling their space to Tanzanians at a higher price, said Dayton. Whereas some end at accusing Tanzanians of hijacking their opportunities, Dayton prefers looking at the incomers as an inspiration for Malawian entrepreneurs at a time unemployment is worsening due to a stifling economic meltdown. Locals find Tanzanians are more hard-working, focused and vigilant in their enterprisetraits historians attribute to Swahilis close encounters with Arab slave traders. At age 18, Tanzanians will be independent and busy running their own businesses while Malawians over 21 years old see nothing wrong with depending on their parents for everything even money for booze. Men from Tanzania have no problem doing the businesses we tend assign to women. They sell mandasi, vegetables and anything that brings them money because trade is part of their culture, said Dayton. n

A trader in Karonga Market

Vendor John Dyton, buys his merchandise from Tanzania

KA communities worry more about oil


Exclusive inquiry page 4 fishing team arrested on the purportedly Tanzanian side five months ago, was mending the nets along with his wives and childrena stark symbol of what fishing means to his family. According to Paramount Chief Kyungu, the oil question is not President Joyce Bandas baby, but a mistake of her predecessor, the late Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, who did not consult with Tanzanias government before embarking on the exploration exercise. Instead of fasttracking the oil exploration, we should have done it in phases while consolidating our economy and relationship with Tanzania, said Kyungu. He urged government to put the project on hold, saying: We should not let our relationship die because of some oil we dont see. The chief said Malawians may be the ultimate losers because pursuing confrontational policies often benefit developed economies that sell arms, warplanes and other accessories of war. Concurring with Kyungu, Chakwerabased fisherman Aaron Chidambo feels there are several things government should have explained before embarking on the oil project. If I had a minute with the President, I would have told her to save our lake because any spill may disturb the fresh water lake and its fish which has long been our source of pride and livelihood. I wish they started explaining to the locals how they will cope with its side effects on fishing communities, said Chidambo. After a meeting with Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete in Mozambique last November, President Banda told the media that the source of the border dispute could not be ascertained. A communiqu Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Chiume read at the end of the visit said the president did not raise the issue of oil as we are talking about the boundary. But in an interview with Inter Press Service (IPS), Tanzanian high commissioner to Malawi, Patrick Tsere, is quoted as denying that his countrys security forces were harassing Malawian fishermen, saying: Its rather us who have been worried that Malawian planes have been seen flying into Tanzania territory without our permission. For the fishing communities in the shoulders of Lake Malawi, such arguments and counter-arguments could be a signal that the rift will likely widen if viable volumes of oil are discovered. n

Photographs: james chavula

Photograph: james chavula

James Chavula News Analyst

The news gatherers tale


or adventurous journalists, no challenge is more generous than a dangerous undercover undertaking. Mine came on the back of the border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania that will likely affect a place I call home Karonga. The mission was to interact with potential victims of an endless dispute over the water mass Malawians call Lake Malawi. Both the glimmer and curse of the fresh water lake, thought to be endowed with oil and gas, welcomed me on the winding road down Chiweta Escarpments in Rumphi West. Midway through the perilous descent, one passengers candid review of the calm waters of the lake left the whole Karongabound bus debating whether Malawi really owns the entire spread or Tanzania is entitled to the half bordering its shores. This is the question the British and Germans who colonised the two countries wanted to resolve by signing the 1890 Heligoland Treaty which apportioned the whole lake to Malawi. Despite being party to an Organisation of African Unity (OAU) resolution endorsing the colonial boundaries, Tanzania finds a 1982 partition treaty stipulating the borderline in the midline of the lake more in line with its aspirations. So, the impassioned border argument in the bus quickly descended into an audit of the neighbouring countrys military might. Who is stronger between Malawi and Tanzania? Surely, both are poor donor-dependent countries which can illafford to waste their scarce resources on bloodletting. The two countries share more than just the borders. The majority of the people I talked to on the assignment consider unarmed Tanzanians their equals, partners in business, marriage and agriculture, among many areas. So, am I guilty of practising sensational journalism when the fraternal ties between

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NATION on Sunday
APRIL 14 2013

Love triumphs over lake wrangle


Exclusive inquiry page 5 and Tanzanians who live together peacefully. The deceased Sha Kyala matured into one of the vibrant business people of Tanzanian origin; hence, the name which means Its all from God. Asked about the lessons mediators and their countries can draw from an increasing number of intermarriages in the two countries, the women almost reinvented the words of Malawis founding president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, saying: Even countries dialogue, dialogue, dialogue until a solution is found. Equally pleased with cross-border marital ties is Rodney Mwanyongo from Mpata in Karonga. The businessperson, who plies his trade at Songwe Border, said there is no need for panic as the people of Malawi and Tanzania have always coexisted and shared Lake Malawi for years. For some of us, the socalled dispute over Lake Malawi was news and there was no tense whatsoever. My in-laws and I live in peace; in fact, they gave me a three-acre garden which I have been using for years, said Mwanyongo, who married Rihanna Chifunga from Isaki, Kyela, five years ago. The couple has two children and call both countries their homes. To Paramount Chief Kyungu, Chifunga and Nyamaki are just some of the people of either side of Songwe River and Lake Malawi that have intermarried over time. Their intertwined way of life is like rewinding the hands of time to the pre-colonial times when the two countries were one community without borders. Actually, some people at Karonga main market say an influx of Tanzanians, who constitute nearly half of the districts business population, could be children of such intermarriages and other historical ties. Allowing the Lake Malawi negotiations to boil out of hand would scald this marriage of cultures, a bond so heartfelt in the border district. n

Chavula (L) takes a stroll at Songwe Border


people of the two countries trump everything else? I was no accomplice to a gang spreading lies about Tanzanian security arms patrolling and harassing Malawians in the waters under dispute where Malawis MV Ilala no longer goes. Across the border, one newspaper had reported seeing a high-powered team of military officials in war uniforms and carrying a new mapall this while pursuing dialogue for a lasting solution. It added a thrill to my exciting assignment. Yet, there was peace and calm at Karonga where people of both sides of the lake speak one language. The only war perceivable was a scramble for customers in marketplaces where almost half of the vendors and the goods are said to be emanating from the neighbouring country. Surprisingly, the lake struggle rarely features in their chats for they prefer talking about money matters. From Karonga to Songwe, nearly every vendor claimed to be a leader of the main market square and named their price to grant me an interviewone of the progressive by-products of their interaction with Tanzanians, according to one John Dayton. Tanzanians do not only bring us cheaper and longerlasting goods than what the Chinese offer, but also teach us to be hardworking ingredients are a staple. A trip into the contentious waters might have been thwarted by hostile winds pounding my hired boat at Ngosi. But save for confirmations of fishers arrests on the so-called Lake Nyasa strip, the cordial meeting of two cultures followed me everywhere I went: marketplaces from Karonga to Songwe, fishing ports from Ngala to Chakwera, crossovers from Songwe to Kasumulo border posts. Even on the black market, the two nationalities were united in an economic scramble to change my kwachas to shillings. Only at Songwe did a security official threaten me with an arrestnot for being Malawian, but spying and taking pictures in their protected area. Similar laws also exist locally and it took my interpreter a 15-minute interrogation to secure my freedom. I only had to delete the illicit photographs! Notwithstanding this suspicion, there was nothing tense at the border post where citizens of both sides of the divide trade and clear their goods without hustles. This is the good neighbourliness war can ruin, making the two countries a laughing stock and an example of everything worthy avoiding when reexamining international relationships in view of colonial borders. n

Chavula relaxing at Karonga Museum


businesspeople, said the section head at the market. History has it that Tanzania, a Swahilidominated nation, inherited a solid business culture from Arab slave traders who used to dock on their Indian Ocean ports. Dayton was wearing a replica jersey of his favourite English team with a relatively used pair of jeans shortall straight from Tanzania, but then so was the fuel of the cars buzzing in the town, beddings, pots, vegetables, fruits, potatoes and other domestic goods that crossed the northern border. Even my mbalagha, a mix of boiled bananas with meat, at Mbande Restaurant on the premises of Karonga Museum was not only served by confessed Ta i f a s Ta n z a n i a n s but also reflected the interlocking relationship with East Africa where the

Photograph: james chavula

Photograph: james chavula