The Zomba Magistrate Court has ordered the release of self-proclaimed ‘supreme leader’ of the so-called Peoples Land Organisation, Vincent Wandale, who is undergoing treatment at the Zomba Mental Hospital, pending his trial in a case in which he is charged with publication of false statements likely to cause fear and alarm to the public.
Wandale was taken to the hospital following a court order that he be treated for mental illness before he could be deemed fit to stand trial.
He has been claiming that he is the leader of the so-called independent country, United States of Mulanje and Thyolo (Must), and has mobilised some people in his quest to create the two districts as separate from Malawi.
In releasing him on bail, the court imposed conditions that Wandale should be reporting to the National Police Headquarters once every fortnight.
His lawyer Oscar Taulo said Wandale, who worked as chief land officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, has been ordered not to be making comments regarding his case.
“The court has also ordered that he should avail himself for trial when the dates are set,” said Taulo.
Wandale, who remains on the Malawi Government payroll as a civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development stationed at Lilongwe Agriculture Development Division (ADD, was arrested in October last year after President Peter Mutharika declared that he would come down on him like ‘a tonne of bricks’ after it was reported that he had launched and named the cabinet of his ‘government.’
He first came to the limelight after spearheading a movement for people’s land rights in Mulanje and Thyolo, predominantly tea-growing districts with huge tea plantations.
Wandale was previously arrested and tried for trespassing after threatening to grab land from estate owners to freely distribute to landless people in his capacity as leader of People’s Land Organisation (PLO).