Wandale escapes immediate jail sentence: Malawi tea estates land grabber

People’s Land Organisation (PLO) leader Vincent Wandale  on Tuesday walked from court after Senior Resident Magistrate Thoko Soko handed him a 18-month suspended sentence.

Convicted Wandale:Gets suspended sentence and would be back home than spend time un jail
Convicted Wandale:Gets suspended sentence and would be back home than spend time un jail

He was convicted last Thursday on three counts of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour, unauthorised use of land and criminal trespass in which the court has convicted him but his  accomplice, Tendai Nsikita,  was acquitted of the same charges.

Wandale was arrested on September 3 in Lilongwe in connection to an incident that happened on September 1 at Conforzi Tea Estate in Thyolo where hundreds of villagers invaded the estate and started sharing land for permanent settlement and cultivation.

But  Senior Resident Magistrate Soko did not jail the guilty land grabber  saying she had to balance justice and mercy because he was a first offender.

The court however ordered Wandale to present three sureties and enter into a bond of K100,000.

However, she noted that because of his failure to follow proper channels to address land challenges in Thyolo and Mulanje, Wandale’s actions had threatened the security of the country.

She added that his declaration of Thyolo and Mulanje as a sovereign state could have caused chaos.

The  magistrate noted that the so-called independence of Thyolo and Mulanje that Wandale was advocating was endorsed by only about 3,000 people when each of the two districts has more than 500,000 people.

Wandale’s lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta hailed the Magistrate for not imposing a custodial sentence.

“Land is a major issue in Thyolo and the government is not willing to address it. My client has found himself on the wrong side of the law because he wanted to address an issue that the government is not interested to solve,” said Chipeta.

He the court for applying “lenience” by giving  Wandale suspended sentence.

In brief interview, Wandale said  he will fight on to find a solution to the long standing issue of shortage of land in Thyolo and Mulanje.

He said the government of Malawi cannot force allegiance from the people of Mulanje and Thyolo. It has lost the trust of the people.

“We will claim back our land that was stolen from our ancestors by the whites,” said Wandale.

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Bobby J
Bobby J
4 years ago

Imagine Thyolo and Mulanje were officially declared sovereign states and just like that our brothers and sisters from this new country require passports and or visas to travel and trade in Malawi? Imagine if Malawi decided overnight to disconnect its water supply electricity, health, education ,agriculture to this new state because they are to stand alone? Imagineas a state they would require to have a government in place who could be the leaders and would the process of choosing leaders be democratic enough or would raise chaos? Are you sure Mr Wandale the approach taken a true and fair reflection… Read more »

4 years ago

The man of the people.

I smell governments involvement in this sentencing, govt is afraid of the unexpected that can happen.

Chikadya Kuwani
Chikadya Kuwani
4 years ago

Wa wina Wandale shame to Ngongoliwa people will now support Wandale including Mugabe will support Wandale soon or later

4 years ago

Welcome back good friend Vinjo. While you were away Noxy left for good. MHRIP.

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