George Mhango, Blantyre in Malawi
Malawi has commissioned six marine warships meant to protect the citizens from enemies who will invade Lake Malawi.
The warships will also provide rescue efforts to users of the lake, including tourists who flock to the lake.
The warships are named after incumbent president Peter Mutharika, former president Bakili Muluzi and four retired army generals.
This is the second time warships are launched on Lake Malawi since 1978.
Lake Malawi, Our Lake, Our Pride.— Travel Malawi Guide (@travel2malawi) April 10, 2016
Many lives depend on this lake. This is also one of our tourist attractions. pic.twitter.com/AcHprHGqcQ
Prayers and songs were order of the day during the commissioning of the warships. Members of the diplomatic corps, including Chinese nationals were also present.
The commissioning of the six warships took place in Mangochi, a lakeshore tourism district in the Southern Region of Malawi.
The launch did not come as a surprise to many since previous warships were outdated rendering rescue efforts at stake.
This also comes when the lake wrangle between Malawi and Tanzania remains unresolved. The two nations have differed on Lake Malawi ownership for decades.
The launch of the six-warship meant one thing to many people; which is that the lake needs to be guarded with modern warships against any outside forces.
The public is happy, saying warships will also provide rescue efforts to fishers and other marine operators whenever there are security lapses and accidents.
Malawi Defence Force commander Vincent Nundwe hailed the launch of the six warships.
Malawi says, she owns the entire lake while Tanzania claims to be owning part of it. The lake Malawi wrangle resurfaced in 2012 during the leadership of ex-president Joyce Banda when some local fishers were arrested by Tanzanian officials on lake.
But President Mutharika said during the commissioning that security of Malawi’s citizens is of great importance. He said such ships will enable the military to protect the country by tightening security against any external forces on lake Malawi.
President Mutharika has since 2014 said the lake belongs to Malawi and will not allow to lose even an inch of it although discussions regarding ownership are still in progress.
But Mutharika has not publicly said anything on whether he has told his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli about Malawi’s position on the lake’s ownership.
The mediation talks between Malawi and Tanzania are facilitated by SADC former presidents like Festus Mohae of Botswana, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Joachim Chisano of Mozambique. They are yet to brief leaders Mutharika and Magufuli.