Blantyre Magistrate court has convicted 20 land grabbers who belonged to so called Peoples Land Organisation (PLO) whose leader Vincent Wandale is a self claimed president of Mulanje and Thyolo.
Principal magistrate Thokozani Soko convicted the 20 after the convicts changed plea from not guilty to guilty.
Lawyer for the 20 convicts, Mike Chitepa said he advised his clients to change the plea to guilty after the court went to the piece of land, which belongs to Comforzi Tea Estate in Thyolo.
“I gave them the merits and demerits of pleading guilty or not guilty in this case after we went to Thyolo and after weighing the options, they decided to plea guilty and the court has convicted them on their own plea,z” said Chitepa.
Chitepa then asked the court to spare the convicts a custodial sentence, saying there are other reasonable punishments that can be meted on the convicts.
Magistrate Soko said she would sentence the convicts on Monday, the day the state is expected to parade witnesses against the convicts leader, Wandale who has not pleaded guilty.
He was defiant at the land in question on Wednesdsy when he stubbornly told the court he want to take the ‘idle’ land from Comforzi Tea Estate to redistribute to the landless.
Owner of Comforzi Tea Estate Ivin Suleman disputed the land was idle and said he bought it in 2003.
This means Wandale and two others have pleaded not guilty.