People’s Land Organisation (PLO), a group that is fighting for land for locals in Thyolo and Mulanje from tea estate owners, is mobilising online signatures to petition President Peter Mutharika to free their leader Vincent Wandale and 22 members.
In the petition, the group members argue that the release of the 23 will create a platform for meaningful dialogue to resolve the matter.
Wandale and 22 members of his group were arrested last week in connection with an incident on Thursday when hundreds of villagers invaded privately owned Conforzi Tea Estate in Thyolo and started sharing land among themselves.
In an interview yesterday, petition coordinator Paliani Chinguwo confirmed the initiative to mobilise signatures, saying they are not targeting a specific number of signatories, “but rather that seven days from today [Wednesday] the signing of the petition will be closed and then be submitted or brought to the immediate attention of the Office of the President and Cabinet and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.”
The petitioners argue that, it is well documented that prior to the formal declaration of Nyasaland (Malawi) as a British Protectorate in 1891, the British imperial power had, under the Africa Orders in Council 1889 and 1892, appointed a commissioner for “British Central Africa who, in exercise of the Africa [Acquisition of Lands] Order 1898 and later the Nyasaland Order in Council 1907, purported to acquire and make grants of lands in the name of Her Majesty the Queen of Britain,” reads the petition in part. n