Activists have trashed the arrest of People’s Land Organisation (PLO) leader Vincent Wandale and have demanded for his immediate release arguing that he is fighting a valid cause.
In an online a petition, activist Paliani Chinguwo says arrests and prosecution of Wandale and other PLO members cannot be a lasting solution to the grievances presented by the organisation.
Chinguwo claims that people from Mulanje and Thyolo district deserve to be honoured with the land which was taken from their forefathers by the colonial masters.
“We are cognisant of a movement for the landless people led by Vincent Wandale called the People’s Land Organisation (PLO) that is claiming reparations from the tea estates in Thyolo and Mulanje for the forced labour that their fore parents were subjected to in the estates by the colonial settlers. This movement is also demanding the restitution of land to them which they claim was expropriated by the colonial government from their fore parents.
“Given the political and historic complexity of this issue, we therefore urge the state to immediately withdraw the court case mentioned above; release those who are detained on remand; and then urgently initiate a dialogue involving all stakeholders aimed at finding a win-win solution to this matter which has now become a ticking bomb having remained unresolved 52 years after Malawi attained independence from the Britain,” reads part of the petition.
The activist says the signing of the petition will be closed on Wednesday next week and the appeal will be brought to the immediate attention of President Peter Mutharika, minister of justice and constitutional affairs Samuel Tembenu and presidential advisor on economic affairs Collins Magalasi.
Wandale was arrested together with other concerned citizens from Mulanje and Thyolo who planned to seize and share land belonging to Conforzi tea estate.
A court in Blantyre has since been denying bail for Wandale, together with other PLO members, who has been charged with conspiracy to commit misdemeanour, unauthorized use of land, inciting violence and criminal trespass together with fellow PLO members.