MEMBE TALKS TO WANANCHI ON LAKE NYASA BORDER DISPUTE.

 Hon. Bernard K. Membe (MP) talks to Wananchi of Mbamba Bay Ward in Ruvuma Region.

 Mr. Gideon Ndembeka (above) is a fourth generation after the Germany rule and descendant of the first councilor of Tanganyika origin. Behind is Ambassador Irene Kasyanju, Director for Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. 

Beautiful view of Lake Nyasa in Mbamba Bay Ward. 

Hon. Bernard K. Membe (MP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, washes his hands with Lake Nyasa water in Mbamba Bay Ward area, in Ruvuma Region. 

Hon. Membe greets one of the residents living in Mbamba Bay, offshore Lake Nyasa.

Hon. Membe (holding books) in a group photo with elders of Mbamba Bay Ward in Ruvuma Region. Other in the photo is the Ruvuma Regional Commissioner, Hon. Said Mwambungu(on his left) and Mr. Ernest Kahindi (left of RC), District Commissioner of New Nyasa District.  Behind is the Lake Nyasa.

 

Some of the Mbamba Bay elders.  Others in the photo includes Ambassador Irene Kasyanju (1st left on 2nd line), Director for Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operatio, Ambassador Dr. Mohammed Maundi (2nd left on 2nd line), Director for Mozambique-Tanzania Centre for Foreign Relations, Mr. John M. Haule, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and Mr. Assah Mwambene (standing behind Amb. Kasyanju), Director of Information and Government Spokesperson, Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports.

 

 Hon. Membe speaks with elders in Liuli Ward, during his two-day tour mission in Ruvuma Region.  Liuli Ward is also located in the area of Lake Nyasa.  Others in the photo are Capt. John Damiano Komba (MP – Mbinga West) (1st left), the Ruvuma Regional Commissioner, Hon. Said Mwambungu(2nd left), Mr. John M. Haule (1st right), Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and Mr. Ernest Kahindi (2nd right), District Commissioner of New Nyasa District.

Liuli Ward elders listening to Hon. Membe.

 This is a moving car photo shot of another view of Lake Nyasa as you are heading towards Lituhi Ward in Ruvuma Region.

Yet another moving car photo shot – -  note:  you can clearly see few fishermen boats offshore Lake Nyasa.  This photo was also taken while heading towards Lituhi Ward.

Lituhi welcomes Hon. Bernard K. Membe (MP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

More traditional songs and dances by the Lituhi Wananchi.

Meet some of the elders of Lituhi Ward in Ruvuma Region.

What do we tell these young generation?

 What do we tell her?

              And what about her?

Hon. Membe talks to the young generations, assure them of peace, security and tranquility in their lives.

 

Hon. Membe (4th left) in a group photo with some of the Wananchi in Lituhi Ward.  Others in the photo includes Capt. John Komba (MP – Mbinga West) (1st left), Hon. Said Mwambungu (2nd left), Ruvuma Regional Commissioner.

 

 A moving car photo shot, where Wananchi can be seeing near the area of Lake Nyasa, as we were heading towards Lituhi Ward.

 

Another moving car photo shot, clearly you can see fishermen houses offshore Lake Nyasa, as we were heading towards Lituhi Ward.

 

 Yet another moving car photo shot – -  note:  you can see in distance Wananchi carrying the Lake Nyasa water in their basins, for household use as part of their daily activities.

 

 Wananchi in Songea District.

 

 One of the elders, who was a policeman during the colonial era, expressing his sentiments about the Lake Nyasa border dispute.

 Hon. Bernard K. Membe (MP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, holding a book containing one of the earlier maps, indicating the borderline on Lake Nyasa lies in the median line.

  One of the Wananchi in Songea District, expresses her sentiment over the Lake Nyasa border dispute.

Hon. Membe listens to various sentiments from Wananchi of Songea District on Lake Nyasa border dispute.  Others in the photo include Ruvuma Regional Commissioner Hon. Mwambungu (left to Hon. Membe), Songea District Commissioner and  Capt. John Kombo, (MP- Mbinga West) (2nd left) and Mrs. Membe (3rd left), who originates from Mbamba Bay Ward. (All Photos by Tagie Daisy Mwakawago and Mr. Assah Mwambene).

By TAGIE DAISY MWAKAWAGO

A Government delegation led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Hon. Bernard K. Membe (MP) was in Ruvuma Region for a two-day mission aimed at briefing the locals in the Lake Nyasa area on the ongoing negotiations over the border dispute with Malawi.

The delegation that also included members of the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces (TPDF), the President’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development and the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports visited and talked to Wananchi in Mbamba Bay, Liuli, Lituhi Wards in the New Nyasa District and Songea District.

On arrival at Ruiko Airport in Songea on September 8, 2012, the delegation was received by the Ruvuma Regional Commissioner, Hon. Said Mwambungu and other senior regional officials.  Hon. Membe thanked the Regional Commissioner for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to himself and his delegation. 

Introducing members of his delegations, the Minister said “we are here for two objectives, brief the Wananchi on the ongoing bilateral talks, get the oral tradition and local knowledge from elders around Lake Nyasa,” assuring Wananchi security and normalcy in their daily activities. 

Tanzania and Malawi have been in border dispute over the Lake Nyasa since the attainment of each country’s independence.  Malawi claims right to the whole Lake Nyasa, while Tanzania claims ownership to half of the Lake.

“We stand firm that the border runs in the middle of the Lake and that even if we go to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), we will be ready to justify that,” said the Minister. 

The Minister said that the Government has been working diligently on resolving the dispute diplomatically, and if all other efforts fail, then the ICJ will likely be the final course to take.     

The mission started in Mbamba Bay Ward, where the Minister spoke with the elders.  One of them was Mr. Gideon Liganga Ndembeka (85), who articulated a detailed history of Lake Nyasa, stating that the frontier or borderline of the two countries was and still is in the middle of the Lake. 

He demonstrated that fact with the help of historical books written by the British Colonial Government, whereby the frontier between Tanzania and Malawi was located in the middle.  Mr. Ndembeka provided the said books to Hon. Membe, to assist the Government in building its case.  

Mr. Ndembeka is a fourth generation after the Germany rule and descendant of the first councilor of Tanganyika origin.   

Moreover, one of the prominent fishermen in Mbamba Bay strongly raised an observation of the fact that the frontier is in the middle and not otherwise.  This is supported by regular practice of Ship Captains of either side who observe the change of flag rule, when entering each others’ waters.

“This change of flags always takes place at the median point of the Lake Nyasa where the water demarcates itself in a form of a ridge or edge shape,” he said, adding that they usually call it an upper point. 

This point was supported by other elders, who asserted that when entering the Tanzanian waters at the upper point, Malawian ships will lower and replace their flags with Tanzania flags, an exercise which Tanzanian ships do when entering Malawian waters at the upper point.   

On his visit to Liuli Ward, Hon. Membe met with various elders aging between 60 to 98 years of age, who most of them expressed their agony over the Lake Nyasa border dispute.  One of them, Ms. Mariam Chiundu said “this is not a man-made Lake, and therefore one cannot claim sovereignty over it.   It is a natural feature from God, and it ought to be shared.” Her argument was centered at the fact that God is not discriminative.

During the mission, Hon. Membe also stopped by Lituhi Ward and Songea District where the sentiments were overwhelmingly similar to those expressed in other visited Wards.  However, in Lituhi, the elders unanimously said that River Songwe naturally demarcates the River into two halves, and all the way to the Shire River towards the Mozambique side.  This observation supports the claim provided by the elders in Liuli and Mbamba Bay Wards that the upper point marks the median line of the Lake between the two countries.

For Songea District, where the two-day tour ended, the Minister was told about the school, church, cemeteries, farm yards and a village which were all submerged in the Lake as a result of drifting and expansion of the water mass towards the land. To their dismay, that would mean that if the border was set in the shore at 1890 where could it be today? 

In his closing statement, Hon. Membe assured the Wananchi of Songea District, and all who are living around the Lake Nyasa area, of their security and properties, and that the Government wants them to continue with their daily activities without any worries. 

 
 
 

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