The communities of Karonga, on Wednesday welcomed Government’s decision to explore oil in Lake Malawi on condition that there should be direct communication between them and concerned companies.
The communities said this on Wednesday at Baka primary school ground during the meeting organized by Karonga Youth for Justice and Development (KYJD), the leading youth organization dealing with issues of human rights and mining in the district.
The aim of the meeting was to solicit the views of the community on the forthcoming Lake Malawi oil exploration.
Mathews Sayi said the community has been following with keen interest, especially on how some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), who claimed to be the middle men between the community and mine companies in the district, played their role.
“Most of NGOs have been squandering money from the mine companies, which is at our expense. Therefore this time with oil exploration, the community does not want them. The companies should directly talk to us,” he said.
Jennifer Kamanga, while commending KYJD as the only organization that always stands for the need of the community, said “there is need to sign a memorandum of understand with the company, before starting its activities.”
In his remarks, KYJD Executive Director Steven Simsokwe, said his organization believes that the community will benefit from the oil exploration activities, especially if they have one voice.
“First I have to thank you all for recognizing the work my organization. I want to assure you that I shall not let you down, but fight for your welfare without fear or betrayal,” said Simsokwe.
According to the fearless activist, he said he will make sure that there will be no middle men between the community and the oil exploration company.
“The company will directly talk to the community not NGOs, enough is enough,” said Simsokwe.
The community then asked Government not do things in secret, but come open to them in all decision that will affect them.
Some NGOs, experts and Malawians, are against the decision of exploring oil in Lake Malawi and have said it will destroy its environment. Others say laws regulating mining are archaic and outdated.