Tanzania raises stakes in border spat
26 July 2013, 09:57
Nairobi - Tanzania said on Thursday its armed forces were
ready to protect the country against any foreign threat to its territory,
raising the stakes in an escalating border dispute with Malawi.
Tanzania is embroiled in a territorial wrangle with Malawi
over the ownership of Lake Nyasa, which is known as Lake Malawi in the
Malawi, which sits to the west of Africa's third-largest
lake, claims the entire northern half of the lake while Tanzania, to the east,
says it owns half of the northern area. The southern half is shared between
Malawi and Mozambique.
"Anyone who tries to provoke our country will face
consequences ... Our country is safe and the army is strong and ready to defend
our country," said President Jakaya Kikwete without directly mentioning
the Malawi border dispute, in a speech to mark the country's national heroes'
"We will not allow anyone to mess with our country, or
try to take away our territory. We will deal with them just as we dealt with [former
Ugandan ruler Idi] Amin."
The Tanzanian army helped topple Amin in 1979 after he
invaded part of Tanzania's territory.
Kikwete's remarks come after his Malawian counterpart,
President Joyce Banda, told mediators this month her government would not
accept any interim deal on the disputed boundary with Tanzania until the
wrangle over sovereignty is settled.
Banda also said her government would not entertain any
interim agreement on Tanzania usage of the lake until the issue was resolved.
Tanzania has repeatedly assured their citizens to continue
using the lake without any fear.
Malawi had pulled out of talks on the issue in October,
accusing its northern neighbour of intimidating its fishermen, a charge
It returned to the negotiating table this year as the soured
relations delayed exploration for oil and gas.
In 2011, impoverished Malawi awarded exploration licences to
British-based Surestream Petroleum to search for oil in the lake.