Wandale found guilty, convicted but remains defiant as accomplice acquitted: Malawi tea estates land grab

The Blantyre Magistrate’s Court on Thursday found People’s Land Organisation (PLO) leader Vincent Wandale guilty on three counts of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour, unauthorised use of land and criminal trespass in which the court has convicted him but acquitted his  accomplice, Tendai Nsikita, of the same charges.

Wandale: Convicted Wandale told reporters outside the court he will appeal the case

Wandale: Convicted but told reporters outside the court he will appeal the case

Wandale was arrested on September 3 in Lilongwe in connection to an incident that happened on September 1 at Conforzi Tea Estate in Thyolo where hundreds of villagers invaded the estate and started sharing land for permanent settlement and cultivation.

Senior Resident Magistrate Thokozani Soko said she convicted Wandale on all three counts   after she found that he aided, abetted and encouraged people to encroach Conforzi Tea Estate as shown in the official notice presented in the court regarding the planned encroachment which the people ‘mistakenly’ believe belongs to their forefathers.

She said Wandale failed to justify his bonafide ownership to the said land which could have seen the passing of the land from one generation to another.

Soko further said the fact that other accused persons pleaded guilty to the charges means that the land belonged to Conforzi. She also said Wandale failed to follow proper channels to resolve land issues in the district.

Southern Region Prosecuting Officer David Mtete, prayed to court to impose a stiffer sentence, “particularly an immediate custodial sentence, even though he is a first offender.”

The prosecutor said the court should take into consideration that “it was an organised crime,” and that the conduct of Wandale “could have led to the encroachment of all tea estates in the district, thereby affecting the economy of the country.”

However, his Wandale’s lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta asked the court to apply a humane face in passing the sentence.

“Land is a major issue in Thyolo and the government is not willing to address it. My client has found himself on the wrong side of the law because he wanted to address an issue that the government is not interested to solve. I, therefore, pray that the court should apply lenience and give him suspended sentence,” said Chipeta.

Magistrate Soko has since set Tuesday, November 8 for sentencing

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters outside the court Wandale remained defiant, saying he would appeal and fight on to enable the people of Thyolo and Mulanje reclaim their land from estate owners.

“I maintain my stand that we are a sovereign State and have freehold of all land belonging to United States of Thyolo and Mulanje [Must]. I do not care whether the court recognises it or not. We will also be taking this issue to the International Criminal Court [ICC],” said Wandale.

“The government of Malawi cannot force allegiance from the people of Mulanje and Thyolo. It has lost the trust of the people. We will claim back our land that was stolen from our ancestors by the whites,” said Wandale.

He said his client’s actions were not motivated by personal gain but rather to find a solution to the long standing issue of shortage of land in Thyolo and Mulanje.


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Chibweya joe

These whites just came with their briefcases from there countries but now they are owning almost half of our arable land. What pains me most is that government is backing these whites thereby subjecting Malawians (voters) to abject poverty. Koma inu dziko ili!


Our own Okonkwo…Things fall apart the centre cannot hold.


The issue is far from over. The people from Mulanje and Thyolo will rise up agaist the whites. This is t timebomb


Hahaha…koma this Wandale thing make me laugh lungs out!


So you think Wandale is a fool. Far from it. There those of us who believe that Wandale may have used wrong ways due to frustration but he stands for his kinsman. How different is Wandale to John Chilembwe yet you people celebrate him every year. Hypocrites you are indeed.


Wandale Viva, I love your courage, you reminds me of John Chilembwe.

I equate Sir Wandale to Ken Sarowiwa of Ongoniland- Nigeria. That land belongs to the natives of TO and MJ and must be returned. Tea in Mulanje and Thyolo has not supported them. Those of us who come from there know this. It has created poverty and misery instead. Its the white man that benefits from tea. They are not encroaching but taking back what was stolen from them. The settlers are using the law cling to the land Wandale is using nativity. Freedom has no meaning to landless and broken souls of TO and MJ Someone once said ”… Read more »
be humane

zikanakhala kuti izi zikuchitika ku kasungu, mchinji, lilongwe, salima, dedza ntcheu, nkhotakota, ntchisi and Dowa with Chakwera as president mukanaona mmene MCP ikanyozera DPP kuti is the one fuelling all this. Have you how wise DPP is now? Has never accused MCP as fuelling this in its stronghold Thyolo and Mulanje but treats the case as it is. Why then MCP blames DPP on simple silly issue even of internal party differences? Failure to accept problems objectively is a sign of immaturity and thats MCP is

This brainless idiot is an embarrassment to Malawians. Malawians are suffering not DPP or MCP.members but Malawians from TO and MJ and this fool is bringing in Politics. These settlers had Farms in Lilongwe and Kasungu government managed to take some of that land. Chizinga estate in Kasungu Press farming farms in lilongwe used to belong to settlers. Is it really that impossible that we can allow our brothers and sisters to continue suffering. We know that you are DPP and that the people suffering voted dpp. But the question We could have said that you should suffer for voting… Read more »

alomwe alomwe noophiya

Adzuke Afilika
If you feel that notwithstanding the political calls for a stand a lone state of Mulanje and Thyolo, the cause that Wandale and the landless movement in Thyolo and Mulanje are pursuing is a noble one that raises bells for social justice, then please consider signing this on-line petition to add your voice of justice if you haven’t yet done so. And also consider circulating the link to others in your networks to do likewise. Only four more people are needed to sign to this on-line petition for it to be ready for submission to the head of state of… Read more »

If people can fight for their rights and not defended, then Wandale is one of the victims. For whateva cause this Wandale team could bring, this was viral and a pure encroachment to the owner of the land. You cant just wake up one day and claim a certain land belongs to you, they should’ve taken appropriate measures not just mob violation…

Kale tinkaimba chonchi: Zivute zitani, ife a Malawi Tili pa mbuyo Wandale, eeh tili pambuyo pa Wandale. The elite want to shut him down but what they don’t know, the harder they try, the more Malawians are interested in his case and the more they will try to support him. Most Malawians were as of late ignorant of his campaign but they now know that unlike most of our politicians Wandale is a self-less individual who has got others interests at first and his struggle is not of self-enrichment. Its true that we have idle land owned by the estates… Read more »
It is sad that the lomwe of Mulanje and Thyolo have failed to cease this opportunity to raly behind my good friend Vincent Wandale and take back what belongs to them. I am not surprised though because these lomwes always want other people to fight the battle and they enjoy the fruits. This is your own battle and no one will come to fight it for you. You have a rare species in Wandale among you, so wake up and revolt against his conviction and support him to lead you out of landlessness. It is a pity that your Ngolongoliwa… Read more »

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