Self-styled supreme leader of People’s Land Organisation (PLO), Vincent Wandale, is today set to address people in Thyolo to, among others, set the date for the swearing-in ceremony for his ‘government’ covering the so-called independent States of Thyolo and Mulanje.
Through his Facebook page, Wandale said the meeting will start at 11am at Khonjeni Turn-off.
He said in an interview later that the meeting will plan the swearing-in of Must president, deputy president, Cabinet, head of Judiciary and head of the Legislature.
On whether his action will not be taken as provocation as the said jurisdictions are within Malawi, Wandale said his ‘government’ was ready to protect itself.
He said: “This is our country. It is a sovereign State and any intervention will be taken as interference and we will defend ourselves. We have discussed this issue in several avenues with the Malawi Government and they are aware we declared ourselves a sovereign State in 2015. We could have done this a long time ago but politics has been coming our way, but this time around we will not relent to any pressure.”
Wandale is currently answering charges of obtaining money by false pretence and was last November given an 18-month suspended sentence following his conviction on three counts of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, unauthorised use of land and criminal trespass.
However, in May this year, the High Court in Blantyre acquitted Wandale on two counts of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour and criminal trespass.
High Court Judge Sylvester Kalembera quashed the convictions in count one and three and set aside the sentences.
The judge said the lower court erred in convicting Wandale on the offence of conspiracy to commit an offence when in totality of the evidence before the court did not establish or prove the offence. He quashed the appellant’s conviction under count one and set aside the sentence therein.
Wandale’s arrest on September 3 2016 in Lilongwe followed an incident that happened on September 1 at Conforzi Tea Estate where hundreds of villagers invaded the estate and started sharing land for permanent settlement and cultivation. They claimed the land belonged to their forefathers.
Wandale declared the two districts of Thyolo and Mulanje a sovereign State called United States of Mulanje and Thyolo (Must) in March 2016 following what they call failure by the Malawi government to act on their protracted wrangle with estate owners who they claimed grabbed land from their ancestors leaving them landless. n