The High Court sitting in Mzuzu has nullified the chieftaincy of Mtima Gondwe, who was Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe of Rumphi District, saying the appointment was unlawful.
Judge Thomson Ligowe said Mtima Gondwe, who was crowned the Tumbukas’ chief on October 23 2019, will continue serving in an acting capacity while waiting for the State President to appoint another paramount chief.
“For the avoidance of doubt from today onwards, the fourth defendant [Mtima Gondwe] is not the Paramount per se. He reverts to acting position until the President properly appoints and installs Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe. In the final analysis, this application for judicial review succeeds with costs to the applicants,” he said.
Ligowe added that District Commissioner and Minister of Local Government are mere facilitators.
“All they need to do is to gather information for the President,” he said.
The case was brought to court for judicial review by Joseph Bongololo Gondwe, who claimed to be the heir to the throne.
Speaking after the judgement, lawyer for the applicant Michael Goba Chipeta said he was satisfied with the outcome while one of the defendant’s lawyers Sheila Malora described the judgement as unifying.
Themba la ma Themba Chikulamayembe XII, real name Walter Gondwe, died in November 2018 and his son Mtima had been the acting chief before his installation in October 2019.