Leader of People’s Land Organisation (PLO), Vincent Wandale, has been branded an outcast by senior chiefs from Mulanje and Thyolo for calling on the two tea growing districts to become a ‘sovereign state’ over land wrangles.
Wandale has said Malawi Government as well as President Peter Mutharika have failed to resolve the long-standing land wrangle between communities and tea estate owners in populous Thyolo and Mulanje districts where most of the arable land is taken up by tea estates and will now seek declaration of the two districts to be a standalone state-nation.
His calls comes after a campaign for Thyolo and Mulanje people’s occupation of all idle land owned by tea estates.
Wandale said the ‘new country’ would be called “African Traditionalist Republic of the United States of Thyolo and Mulanje (MUST).”
He argues that “a lot of futile meetings have been conducted between government PLO representative at all levels to resolve our issue.”
Wandale said the chiefs “have no mandate” to stop his activism.
But traditional leaders : who met on Thursday at Senior Chief Ngolongoliwa’s Ntunda Wosema headquarters in Thyolo have branded Wandale a thief, and an outcast, saying he wants to bring disorder in the country.
“As chiefs, we are the custodians of the people but all of us do not know him and his conduct request police to investigate and arrest him so that he properly explains his bizarre actions,” said Ngolongoliwa.
He said Police should arrest Wandele for conduct likely to cause breach of peace in his demand for Thyolo and Mulande to have self-rule and that he was also “swindling people’s money under the pretence that he will give them land.”
The meeting was also attended by Senior Chief Chikumbu of Mulanje , Inkosi Bvumbwe, senior chiefs Chimaliro, Thomas and traditional authorities (T/As) Nchilamwera, Kapichi and Mphuka from Thyolo.
Others who attended were senior chiefs Mkanda and Mabuka and T/A Mthiramanja from Mulanje.
PLO demands local people’s occupation of all idle land on top of demanding estates owners to pay £65 (about K53 000) per acre per year for all used colonial estate land from 1914.
The organisation has also been demanding from the estates owners a wage rate of £6.13 per hour (about K5000) per individual for those who were involved in Thangata (bonded labour) between 1914 and 1963.
Malawi’s tea industry, started by colonial masters in the 1800s, occupies thousands of hectares believed to have been grabbed from natives. The industry is also one of the most productive in the world.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :