A court in Blantyre has refused to grant bal to self-acclaimed leader of the people of Thyolo and Mulanje, Vincent Wandale who last Thursday mobilised hundreds of villagers who invaded a privately-owned Conforzi Tea Estate with an aim of distributing part of the estate land they claim has laid idle for many years.
Wandale appeared before the court on Tuesday after his arrest to be formally charged.
He was arrested on September 2 2016 while 21 of his followers were arrested on September 1.
The State has pressed four charges of conspiracy to commit misdemeanour, unauthorised use of land, inciting violence and criminal trespass.
Police spokesperson for Blantyre James Kadzera confirmed that Wandale appeared before the court in Blantyre and that Principal Resident Magistrate Innocent Nebi told the jam parked court that he will not be handling the case but rather Magistrate Thokozani Soko will handle the case and all other applications.
“The court has remanded him further until the start of the case next month,” said Kadadzera.
He said Police brought Wandale and his followers to court to be made aware of the charges in compliance with the 48 hour rule of section 42 (2b) of the republican constitution.
They have since been remanded at Chichiri Prison.
Wandale claims the land in tea estates belonged to the ancestors of people of Thyolo and the colonialists forcebly took the land for growing tea.
He issued a statement on Friday before his arrest, saying: “Traditionalist Government of the United States of Thyolo and Mulanje was declaring a state of war against foreign aggression from Republic of Malawi.”
The civil servant 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.
Wandale said the declaration of war was necessitated by the unprovoked aggressive action unleashed by the Malawi Government armed police on the peaceful citizens of the African Traditionalist republic who were receiving uncultivated colonial estate land in Thyolo as per notice issued on July 28 2016.
But Ministry of Information, Communications Technology said Wandale is acting “out of his mind.”
The ministry in a statement said what the villagers did was encroachment, which is illegal.
The statement said 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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :