16 arrested in Malawi tea estate land grab: Thyolo villagers occupy Comforzi Estate

Hundreds of people  carrying hoes, pots and beddings stormed  Conforzi Tea Estate inThyolo to grab  land which they claim was grabbed from their forefathers by the tea estate owners but police  arrested  16  people and  fired teargas to disperse  the villagers.

Chaos in Thyolo over land redistribution

Chaos in Thyolo over land redistribution

Police picked 16 leaders of the Peoples Land Organisation (PLO), a grouping of community members from Thyolo District advocating for land redistribution especially tea estates them to the District Commissioner’s office for further negotiations.

But they were taken to Chilomoni Police Unit in Blantyre where they were put under arrest and charged of ‘conduct likely to cause breach of peace.’

Vincent Wandale president of PLO, who declared Thyolo and Mulanje an independent state calling it the ‘United States of Mulanje and Thyolo’ was not among the 16 PLO officials arrested.

They included his vice president, ten women and six men.

Wandale had goiven government up to September 1 2016 to resolve the land issue and warned that they will start the redistribution exercise themselves.

Lawyer Jai Banda has been hired by PLO to defend them.

“ It is not like we are just doing things out of ignorance, we know our rights, why are they treating us like criminals?” said Wandale.

The PLO has been agitating for the local people’s occupation of all idle tea estates land in the districts since its establishment in 2009 and has been demanding that estates owners pay £65 (about K53 000) per acre per year for all used colonial estate land from 1914 to date.

The organisation has also been demanding from the estates owners a wage rate of £6.13 per hour (about K5 000) per individual for those who were involved in Thangata (bonded labour) between 1914 and 1963.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “16 arrested in Malawi tea estate land grab: Thyolo villagers occupy Comforzi Estate”

  1. Eagle Eyed says:

    My Goodness gracious me.

    Sorry to inform you PLO your talking to the wrong countries government. Originally that so called land your talking about is not historically Malawis it was part of Mozambique cross the border to Milanje and kindly make your case heard there.

    Zikomo.

  2. Mr African man says:

    Whites know Africans are fools that’s why they grab their land. Any black person that has grabbed land from British people or Germans. But see how much land these morons have in Malawi, Namibia you name it. Time to have our land back or market fee to paid for those using it, not the pea nut tax they pay. We can always live without them

  3. Costly Gochisale says:

    I thought sometime back the Malawi government instituted the “Kudzigulira malo program” to help people like these?? They were relocated to NTCHEU-BALAKA belt where land was found. Do we want to repeat the Zimbabwe scenario??

  4. Chilungamo says:

    ALOMWE KUSWANA NGATI AKALULU….MUNYA MUONA….SIMUNATI! KUKONDA CHIGOLOLO BASI!

  5. Dr Tonde says:

    This people amaswana udyo. Even if given all the land they will overpopulate it in no time. Remember Bakili moved thousands of them to Mangochi and Machinga? Koma aswananso ngati makoswe and they have nowhere to farm. if the white settlers were multiplying like these Lomwes would the estates be still as large as they are today?

  6. Franz Van Gwire says:

    I feel the people of Thyolo led by Mr Wandale are 100% right to reclaim their land as the old acquisition of the said land by the Tea Estates was made without proper consultation with the local leaders and their subordinates. The then government officials just accepted and signed the deal because they were excited with prospect of tea estates thinking it would benefit the local population. The tenets presented by these people claiming GBP6 65 (about Mk53’000.00) per acre per year for all used colonial estate land from 1914 to date and a wage rate of GBP 6.13 (about MK5’00.00) per individual for those who were involved in Thangata (bonded labour) between 1914 and 1963 are all reasonable and justifiable. In other countries people in similar situations are compensated. In fact I should take this opportunity to advance for the idea for the Malawi government to claim taxi from (UK) British companies doing business in the country who have not been paying taxi to government of Malawi to pay a substantial amount from their proceeds. This will be the only way to show appreciation and a means of consolation to the suffering local masses. It is high time our government started putting the welfare of its citizens first than just thinking of development which does benefit the local population directly.

    1. charles says:

      Iwe Franz, the words to use are tax, not taxi and tenants, not tenets!

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