After heightened land disputes in Thyolo and Mulanje districts, the two districts have finally seceded from mainland Malawi, a pressure group behind the move has announced.
Leader of the People’s Land Organisation (PLO) – the pressure group behind the calls – Vincent Wandale made the announcement while speaking to Channel Africa’s flagship Zochitika Mu Africa- Chinyanja Service program on Monday night.
According to Wandale, PLO is currently formulating a constitution, looking for a Supreme Court Judge and other important statues which will recognize the two district as a state.
PLO has been calling on the Malawi government to rule that all the companies which own estates in the districts got them illegally and that tea estates which are not being used should be shared to people who do not have land for cultivation.
However, government has been silent on the matter since last year.
But according to Wandale, it is not wrong for someone to make calls for secession and the two districts have borrowed a leaf from Kosovo which seceded from Serbia in February 2008 as the Republic of Kosovo.
”You see what, we are our country here in Mulanje and Thyolo because the Malawi government has failed to meet our needs. We feel that since now we are a country, we should be able to solve the matters of land disputes with the tea estate owners our own way. Most of the land the tea estates own was taken illegally and we know the truth. At the moment, we are just looking for a Supreme Court Judge and other statues to meet the state requirements,” he said.
On whether PLO is afraid or not, Wandale was quick to say that there is no crime in seceding from a mainland nation and that Kosovo set a precedent which they are now following.
What this means
If Wandale’s remarks are anything to go by, it means that Thyolo and Mulanje are a nation on their own and not part of the Malawi government. The two districts sit in Lhomwe Southern region area.
They will now have their own flag, Coat of Arms, Anthem, Capital City, Leadership (Prime Minister or President) and Legislature among others.
But what does the Malawi government say
The Malawi Government says it is leaving no stone unturned in trying to end Thyolo and Mulanje land wrangles between the locals and tea estate owners, but if what Wandale says is anything to go by, then the Malawi government is quite late.
Where it goes wrong
The PLO has however received condemnation by chiefs from the two districts though the group claims the traditional leaders have been bribed not to support the calls.
Vocal Senior Chief Ngolongoliwa Thyolo maintains that the chiefs do not support the calls for the peace and unity of Malawi and not for the said attachment to the government.
“We are the custodians of the people but all of us do not know him and his conduct request police to investigate and arrest him so that he properly explains his bizarre actions,” said Ngolongoliwa.
A matter of precedent
Despite borrowing a leaf from Kosovo, the grouping has also been motivated by pressure from the Northern Region part of Malawi where leaders there had wanted the region to secede from Malawi on claims that all administrations have been ignoring the region in terms of development as well as in picking people for top government positions.
The two districts according to PLO will be known as “African Traditionalist Republic of the United States of Thyolo and Mulanje (MUST).”