After being blocked from conducting a peaceful demonstration by the District Commissioner (DC) for Thyolo yesterday, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) finally presented delivered its petition to Mulanje DC today.
The organization has warned that residents would go on a free-for-all distribution of the idle land if the government continues paying deaf ear to their cry for justice.
The firebrand human rights watchdog, the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), mobilized the landless people of Thyolo and Mulanje to take to the streets to demand justice in what they claim to be ‘land grab’ by the estate companies in the two districts.
In the petition, which has been addressed to the State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, CDEDI is giving the Malawi Government 90 days to address people’s grievances, warning that failure to act will be construed by the people of Mulanje as a signal for them to take over the idle land in question.
The organization’s executive director Sylvester Namiwa alleged that residents in Mulanje are living in fear, and are more or less like half human beings, since the only fundamental natural resource that sustains life, was violently grabbed from their ancestors at gunpoint by the white settlers from Britain.
Namiwa said the government cannot be talking about advancement of basic rights to life and economic activities without tackling land issues.
“Adding salt on the injury, some estate owners have resorted to sponsoring the Malawi Police Service (MPs), through the Blantyre, Thyolo, Mulanje, Luchenza and Khonjeni police establishments, to skin alive innocent and unarmed citizens who are organized in groups, in an effort to make their voices heard, with the belief that this error would be corrected, once and for all.
“Thus far, scores of people have been injured, and have been left with scars, after sustaining serious injuries as a result of merciless beatings by the police, while others are serving jail terms, due to trumped up charges that were coined to protect the interests of the oppressors. Thousands of people are living in fear of the same police, whose mandate is to protect lives and property,” he alleges in the petition.
Namiwa reiterates that his organization is particularly shocked with the deafening silence and total disregard of the issues being raised by the people of Mulanje, who have been under the yoke of colonization ever since, following the failure by all the six heads of state that have ruled the country, to correct the systemic error on the oppressive land laws and regulations inherited from the British, which were craftily drafted to protect the selfish interests of the oppressors.
He says it is disheartening to note that the very same oppressive laws inherited from Britain, were nullified in the 1999 ministerial report on land related laws, but no further action was taken to correct the situation on the ground.
“It is against such a background that we demand that all the idle land should be surrendered and made accessible to the rightful owners and that the locals should form part of the shareholding of all the plantations namely; tea, macadamia, coffee and tungsten,” reads the petition.
CDEDI further tasks the British Government to publicly apologize to Malawians, and should compensate the remnants, whose ancestors were allegedly assaulted, had their crops and graves vandalized, and suffered through the infamous forced labour known as the Thangata system.
The organizations also wants the estate owners to immediately stop using the police to unleash terror on innocent and unarmed people, including minors, women and the elderly, arguing Malawi is not a police state.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :