Malawi to put armed patrol vessels on Lake Malawi, “We are already invaded as we speak” – President Joyce Banda
Joyce Banda talks to Aislinn Laing, Southern Africa Correspondent for the Daily and Sunday Telgraph. Banda reveals the Government of Malawi’s decision to purchase armed patrol vessels for Lake Malawi (Courtesy of The Telegraph)
Aislinn Laing (AL): I understand that at the beginning of November you signed a contract to buy seven armed patrol vessels for Lake Malawi, and I just wondered at a time when the IMF [International Monetary Fund] is saying that budgets need to be restricted and priority needs to be given to social spending, why that was a priority?
Joyce Banda (JB): Do you know what is going on? Somalis are ending up in this country. This is a very very serious matter. I have been asking all our friends, “get me patrol boats for the lake, our borders are so porous”. They come from Tanzania, they end up on the lake, just last year 50 of them drowned on the lake. So they come all the way to Nkhata bay, the get out, and they get into the mountain, they stay there for a month, they get in the country, they bypass ports, so they leave this country of ours Malawi to United States, to United Kingdom.
AL: Do you think that Malawians would be happy about their president spending money on patrol ships and pledging to buy more patrol ships?
JB: Yeah, yeah, in fact it was a request from the people. You don’t know how nervous Malawians have been about the border dispute.
AL: When I canvassed Malawians in the last few days, no one has been aware of security concerns. What they are aware of is doctors being without latex gloves in hospital and important drugs. That seems to be the concern that most people, not the security in Lake Malawi.
JB: What? No, no, no which Malawians are you talking about? People have been nervous there. If you go to the border now, Tanzanians have already put boats on the lake. We are already invaded as we speak. We have got boats on the Lake. But that’s not what we are dealing with right now. Maybe when we have bigger ships. But we really, really, need protection as a nation.