Medical doctors have said the self-proclaimed ‘supreme leader’ of the so-called independent country, United States of Mulanje and Thyolo (Must), Vincent Wandale, is suffering from a mental disorder.
Proceedings relating to the medical doctors’ examination of Wandale were held in camera at the Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court, but National Police Headquarters prosecutor Happy Mkandawire said in an in interview later that the doctors’ report indicated Wandale was mentally ill.
He said the doctors who examined Wandale have recommended that he should undergo mental rehabilitation, but could not say whether the report means Wandale is not fit to stand trial.
Said Mkandawire: “What it means is that there was an objection which the court had to deal with as a preliminary issue and this is the issue we have been dealing with from yesterday to today.
“It also means the court will have to give us guidance on the issue when it makes a ruling on the matter, but we will proceed with the case.”
The State prosecutor also said the court heard the matter in camera because there were other confidential details of Wandale’s health the court wanted to safeguard.
Police in Lilongwe arrested Wandale last month after he declared a new government for Thyolo and Mulanje, claiming secession from Malawi. He is facing trial for false statements likely to cause fear and alarm.
The court has since adjourned the matter to November 16 2017 when the presiding senior magistrate Paul Chiotcha will determine the way forward for the case.
Wandale, who remains on the Malawi Government payroll as a civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development stationed at Lilongwe Agriculture Development Division (ADD), first came to the limelight after spearheading a movement for people’s land rights in Mulanje and Thyolo, predominantly tea-growing districts with huge tea plantations.
He was previously arrested and tried for trespassing after threatening to grab land from estate owners to freely distribute to landless people in his capacity as leader of People’s Land Organisation (PLO).