Wandale uses graveyards in defense: Malawi tea estates land grab case

The case in which Peoples Land Organization (PLO) leader Vincent Wandale is being accused of land grabbing and illegally distributing to his members is expected to be back in court Friday where the accused will continue with their defense.

Wandale: Uses graveyard

Wandale: Uses graveyard

Since last month the case has been held at Conforzi Plantations following the request made by the prosecution team so that the Blantyre Senior Magistrate Court could appreciate how the incident happened.

And on Wednesday Wandale insisted on his innocence, citing the existence of four graveyards within the Conforzi Plantations to justify his actions.                      

Wandale and members of PLO, currently on remand, are answering to charges of Unauthorized Use of Land at Conforzi Plantations, where the incident took place.

In his defense, Wandale argued that by the fact that the four graveyards are located within Conforzi Plantations and have been used by the locals, is clearly evidence that the land belongs to them.

He said communities surrounding the plantations have been using the graveyards for about 60 years, automatically making them real owners of the land.

According to laws, Wandale further argued, one is entitled to claim land ownership if they happen to use it for 12 years.

On Monday, Wandale dragged President Peter Mutharika, chief Ngolongoliwa and the Thyolo District Commissioner into the case, claiming they influenced him to take-over the tea estate land forcibly and distribute it to the landless.

The controversial Wandale said he is ready to cease claims of the political independence of Mulanje and Thyolo if salaries for tea workers in the two districts are increased; people whose land was grabbed by tea estate owners is duly compensated and idle land is given to the landless in the two populated tea growing districts.

Chief Ngolongoliwa and the district commissioner of Thyolo said in their court evidence Wandale has no powers to distribute land under the laws of Malawi to which Wandale laughed as he said Mulanje and Thyolo districts is now one country, not part of Malawi and he is the leader.

The case will be back in court at Blantyre Senior Magistrate where the accused will continue with their defense and application for bail.

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11 thoughts on “Wandale uses graveyards in defense: Malawi tea estates land grab case”

  1. MBIMBISON says:

    the little knowledge I have about the land issue in Thyolo and Mulanje is that most people don’t understand it as it is. just for your understanding lets create a scenario in your village: muli ndi minda imene anthu ammudzi mwanu amalima nde chikhwaya china cha mmudzi uwoo chibwere nkukambirana ndi amfumu nkugula (kaya kulanda) minda yonse or atleast most of the usable land nkumakulembani inuyo anthu a mmudzimo ntchito nkumamulimira iye akakolora nkumatenga zokolora zonsezo nkumapita nazo kwao…. so thus what happened in these areas, the proceeds from these estates do not benefit the bonafide thyolo and mulanje pipo, yet these pipo are using our land and our pipo. this is in a way intellectual slavery, we tend to back up these estates owners withouth looking at the facts on the ground. Winiko and Wandale are right only that may be they used a wrong procedure in bringing this issue to the policy makers. koma eventually you will understand their point though it might be too late then….. this land belongs to the royal family in the UK, isn’t this colonialism?

  2. patriot says:

    I can see that this Wandale have a point. He needs to be heard azungu anaba malo athu

  3. Mwene says:

    Wandale is making sense. This court case is an opportunity for the court to grant justice to the people of Thyolo and Mulanje. This matter has been outstanding for a century and unsatisfactory solution made by Kamuzu and Bakili administration through the donors was the ‘Kuzigulira Malo’ project where idle farms were bought by government for relocation of people from these districts. Since the donors stopped funding this project is when we see the land ownership pressure resurfacing in this districts. Adjacent neighbouring Mozambique has vast kilo meters of fertile idle land i think its time the government consider relocating us Lhomwes to Mosco.

    This is a golden opportunity for Malawi justice system to help the people of Thyolo and Mulanje as politicians and the government have failed

  4. Free Wandale Now says:

    Mlandu uwu ofunika ampatse judge wachilungamo osati zankhanza ndi zopanda nzeru zachina Mtambo. Wandale has no case here, and he will have to be compensated.

    1. Zoona Zake says:

      I cannot agree any less with you Free Wandale Now. I wish Malawi had 10 more Wandales who are not greedy and love to fight for justice.

  5. Free Wandale Now says:

    Wandale has a point. Ife achitonga sitichedwa kumvetsetsa nkhani. Wandale is fighting for a just cause. Too much injustices in Malawi we don’t want another victimisation like in Kasambara’s case. Free Wandale right away!

  6. Father James says:

    Malawians will never be educated. Are we serious we can’t see sense in this man? He talks all sense and Malawians need people like him. We need to support him not jail him. So you are happy jailing own Malawians for claiming what is theirs from foreigners. Leave this innocent man. Deal with cashgate guys not him please

  7. be humane says:

    it might be possible that the Comforzi granted the people access to land for grave yard only because if Comforzi took away their land that originally had 4 graveyards in the 1950s you could not have traces of those graveyards today. It was just a sign of mutual existence between the estate and the people. Remember, most of these people are estate workers with their houses within the estate which makes sense to even burry their dead within the estate. Such space can always be given. Wandale asatipusitse

  8. Ngolongoliwa says:

    I now have a different view of Vincent. I initially thought he was a lunatic BUT I can see sense in him. munthuyu ali ndi nzeru and should not just be brushed off!!!

    1. shocker says:

      Anthu aku Mulanje and Thyolo mumangoti ndinu wochenjera apa ndiye mukutaya mwayi wotenganso malo ambuyanu. Mr Wandale here is sacrificing himself to help you get back your land and you can’t support him. Tulo basi! You do not know how to fight.

      1. john telford says:

        In years to come this man will be a national hero . I am ashamed of what my country did during the colonial period and grabbed all the best land . Following presidents have allowed this situation to fester into a boil . Gaoling this man is utterly wrong but no doubt he will be gaoled . The reason is big business fear that if he wins his case the flood gates will open and people will take back what was stolen. Banda took all the best land around Kasungu and gave what was left to his cronies . He needs the backing of the people but Malawians are like sheep frightened of their shadow. Kill a few planters and they will run away. Occupy the land in the thousands they cannot imprison everyone. Kill a a few police and burn their houses and lo and behold they will be nice to you they are few you are many . so fight John Telford

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