Cold war erupts in Nkhatabay over Lake Malawi
By Thula Chisamba
Intense cold war has erupted between the department of marine services and locals in Nkhatabay over the use of Lake Malawi as a mode of water transport.
Malawi-star visit to the lake side on Thursday found that people were complaining that the department of marine services in the district is imposing unwanted measures on some locals who ply their water transport business on the lake.
They told our reporter that, the department has restricted the local boat owners from traveling on the lake regularly or risk being banned from using the lake completely.
“We have been told that our local boats will no longer be operating on the lake as usual because the department of marine services has ordered that they must not be using the lake regularly.
To us that is a violation of human rights of those people doing their businesses on the lake. In fact, the lake is for Malawians so why restricting them in doing business? That’s unfair,” said Rhoda Msiska, regular customer of Malungo private boat.
Malawi-star follow up on the allegations established them to be true because the owner of Malungo boat Mackenzie Malungo confirmed being informed on the matter.
He told our reporter that he has been restricted from using the lake more than more than two day per week such that he may risk being banned for life once he fails to comply.
“I am strategizing of going to court and get an injunction to refrain the m from doing so because after all, this is our lake and as citizens we have the privilege to be using it the way we want,” said Malungo.
Separate findings shows that, the move is aimed at easing the competition which has been there between Government owned Shipping Company and the private boat owners.
Historically, Malawi-star knows that with the coming of these privately owned transport owners, the Malawi shipping company has been failing to make more profits because most people like the private boats for being punctual.
“They want to give chance to the Malawi shipping company to at least make it without them otherwise with them, they were not making more profits.” said Gilbert Banda former employee of Shipping company.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, a ship from the Malawi Shipping company was sealing on the lake from Likoma to Nkhatabay alongside another private owned boat a thing which triggered more competition among the two.
In reaction to the accusation, Director of marine services on Lake Malawi GK Mhango confirmed the arrangement but brushed aside allegations that the moves intends to pave way for the shipping company to make more profits.
He maintained that the move is aimed at reducing marine accidents which may arise as a result of stiff competition on the lake between the two companies.
“Nothing likes that but as you and I know that traveling on water is not the same as road thus we have done this to reduce possible accidents,” said Mhango.
This means, the private owned boats will be on the mainland idol for close to five days without travelling to and from any direction of the lake.