Thyolo Police Station publicist Edith Likaka confirmed the arrest, saying the people have been charged with unlawful assembly.
“We arrested 11 people for marching without seeking permission or informing the police or the district commissioner. There were three women who have since been released on police bail,” said Likaka.
The arrested belong to a newly registered group called the People’s Land Organisation (PLO) of Thyolo. The group wants to share in the 25 000 hectares of idle land in the district.
The people are claiming that it is unjustifiable for some persons to be keeping vast land for over 50 years without using it for anything, but preservation of natural grass and bushes while many need it for food cultivation.
One of the group’s leaders Vincent Wandale contradicted the police on the number of those arrested.
“Twelve of our members were arrested. Six are at Chichiri Prison awaiting trial for walking to police to lead over 500 PLO members who wanted to get their own bail bonds following the arrest of six board members, including me on 13 January,” said Wandale.
He said the six on remand will be charged with unlawful assembly and marching without permission while the other six board members are accused of inciting violence through the declaration of intifada of the PLO.
“The intifada is still on. On paper, we have shared all the 25 000 hectares of the idle land,” he declared.
In its declaration of January 4 2014, the PLO says that it has tried to negotiate with government on a number of occasions on the use of the 25 000 hectares of idle land in Thyolo District but “what we get is dead silence.”