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Mozambique’s Malawian malaise

Official hostility and mistrust towards Malawians has exacerbated border disputes between the two countries

Today’s front pages in Maputo. Photo © Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good afternoon. We reported yesterday on a border dispute between Malawians and Mozambicans, sparked by Malawian farmers being denied access to land in Mozambique. “Malawians and Mozambicans” sounds like the correct way to define the two sides on this occasion, because there is no sign at the moment of this being a conflict between Malawi and Mozambique, that is, between the two governments.

But relations have not always been good between their respective administrations. For example, landlocked Malawi has long demanded the right to access the sea via the Shire and Zambezi rivers which pass through Mozambique, and Mozambique has always refused. In 2009 this led to then Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika cancelling a meeting with Mozambican president Armando Guebuza and storming out of Mozambique, because the latter refused to discuss the issue. Malawi built a port at Nsanje on the Shire, but this has remained unused.

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