Lujeri Tea Estate in Mulanje has given land to about five thousand people who were accused of being encroachers despite the records showing that the land belongs to the community.
Few months ago, the Estate dragged to court TA Njema, Group Village Headman Gladson and some communities for encroaching the land.
Lawyer for the communities, Charles Kusiwa, says mediation which lasted about 5 hours was held on the land in dispute and was initiated by High Court Judge, Justice Mike Tembo.
During the talks, the Estate agreed to give the people the land.
In the past months, Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has been in talks with different stakeholders including ministry of lands and estate owners to ensure that the landless benefit from the land.
Reacting to the development, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said what has transpired from the mediation is a clear testimony that his organisation is pursuing a genuine cause.
“Therefore the mediation gives a ray of hope that soon the Landless people of Thyolo and Mulanje will reclaim their stolen land,” he said.
He added that the courts have shown their independence by not siding with the oppressors with economic muscle and political connection.
“This energizes the people to fight on in order for the error that happen in the 1890s to be corrected,” he says.
Recently, CDEDI together with landless people in Mulanje petitioned President Lazarus Chakwera to help address land issues and was given 90 days to act.
Commenting on the 90 day ultimatum, Namiwa said it still stands.
“We expect all the estates to release all the idle land and make accessible to the people, secondly the locals should have stakes in the Tea, macadamia, coffee and tungsten plantations,” he said.
He further said CDEDI demanded that the British government should publicly apologize for the inhumane treatment locals suffered when they resisted the land grabbing and the forced labour through Thangata system.
“On top of that the remnants should be compensated,” he said.