A joint press release, from the two sides, says Malawi and Tanzania have decided to settle matter of who owns Lake Nyasa/Malawi through a swimming contest between the presidents of the two countries.
When our reporter reached out to the state house in Tanzania an official said that the president was currently at a training camp preparing for the contest.
“The president is fit and ready, we have brought a trainer from China to oversee his training,” said the official.
According to her, it is the same trainer who led China’s 16 year old swimming sensation Ye Shiwen to win multiple gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Independent observers from the African Union will be at hand to ensure no foul play takes place.
According to the press release the event will take place on New Year’s Eve. The two presidents will start from their respective lake shores and the first one to reach the other side will have won the race.
However commentators from both countries have raised concern over the fairness of the competition.
Pundits from Malawi have said that the competition is unfair because men have an advantage in terms of physical strength over women.
“There is a reason the Olympics hold different events for men and women,” said one columnist on Malawi’s popular newspaper Nyasa Times.
However the Tanzanian side has countered that president Joyce Banda, being a woman, has a natural advantage over her male counterpart.
“Strength is only an advantage for short distances but we are talking about more than 75 kilometres or over 40 miles of swimming. In that kind of situation lighter bones and natural buoyancy are crucial and in that regard women have an advantage over men,” said one sports commentator in Tanzania.
There will be pit stops along the way and the two presidents will be free to rest for as long as they want.
“But at the same time they need to realise that while they are resting their opponent could be getting closer to the finish line,” says one of the African Union officials who will be overseeing the competition.
Earlier there were reports that dialogue between the two countries had failed. The latest move comes amid calls from the international community for Malawi and Tanzania to settle the matter peacefully.
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