Malawi Police have denied widely-publicised reports that they had arrested Peoples Land Organization (PLO) leader Vincent Wandale following last Thursday’s land grabs on private-owned Conforzi Estate in Thyolo district.
Almost all the national newspaper published the reported arrest of self-acclaimed leader of the people of Thyolo and Mulanje, Wandale.
Wandale even wrote on his Facebook page that he had been arrested in Lilongwe
“I’m in police custody in Lilongwe. As Head of State Im under immunity by Vienna Convention. As an act happening after issuing a declaration of war, I am a prisoner of war,” posted Wandale on his Facebook Timeline.
He was referring to rambling declaration he issued on Friday, saying: “Traditionalist Government of the United States of Thyolo and Mulanje was declaring a state of war against foreign aggression from Republic of Malawi.”
Wandale accuses Malawi of violating The Hague Peace Convention (III) of 1907, which he says provides that hostilities between nations must not begin without previous and explicit warning.
But Deputy Police National Spokesperson Thomeck Nyaude disputed claims of Wandale’s arrest.
“Its not true about that. In fact there is no such an entry in our police registers country wide,” he said.
Malawi Government, in a press statement issued through Ministry of Information, Communications Technology and Civic Education, warns that what the villagers did was encroachment, which is illegal.
The statement, signed by Information Minister Patricia Kaliati, says Conforzi was a privately-owned tea plantation, an agricultural business; and as such, it has to conform to a number of international standards that include ensuring that sufficient land is left to conserve natural habitat.
Wandale, who works for Lilongwe Agricultural Development Division (Ladd) as acting chief agricultural extension officer responsible for Lilongwe, Dedza and Ntcheu districts, has been agitating for the local peoples occupation of all idle tea estates land in Thyolo and Mulanje districts since its establishment in 2009.
His organization 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.
PLO has also been requesting 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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :