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25 Years

The Malawi Tanzania Border Dispute over Lake Malawi: Historical Perspectives

Mon, 11/16/2015 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Event Location: 
1210 Heller Hall

Dr. Wapu Mulwafu, Department of History, Chancellor College, University of Malawi

Abstract: The Malawi-Tanzania border conflict over Lake Malawi exemplifies the challenges of consolidating postcolonial nationhood in Africa. This paper explores the historical dimension to the Malawi-Tanzania border dispute. It demonstrates that although the two states have co-existed for half a century, simmering tensions have punctuated their history. While earlier arguments were based on the need to gain access to the lake for geo-political reasons, recent claims have been propelled by the prospect of discovering precious minerals and oil have, providing a raison d’être for riparian states not wanting to be left out of the new scramble. It is argued that as elsewhere on the continent, this border conflict has been orchestrated and amplified by political and economic interests of particular regimes in power.

Bio: Dr. Mulwafu completed his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2000. His dissertation was entitled: “The State, Conservation and Sustainability in a Peasant Economy in Malawi, 1860-1964″. He has written on various aspects of Malawi’s social and environmental history including the political and religious aspects of soil conservation, coffee production, irrigation reform, and the socio-economic dimensions of water resources management. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Southern African Studies, Journal of Religion in Africa, Journal of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Malawi Journal of Social Science, Malawi Journal of Science and Technology and Society of Malawi Journal.