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Chikulamayembe saga not yet over

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Days after President Lazarus Chakwera approved the installation of Joseph Bongololo Gondwe as Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe of the Tumbuka tribe of Rumphi District, Mtima Gondwe, who was acting as paramount chief, has disputed the decision.

In a letter to Chakwera dated March 11 2022, and signed by 62 chiefs from Nkhamanga Kingdom, Mtima Gondwe describes the President’s choice as “unpopular”.

They have, therefore, asked Chakwera to rescind his decision.

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Communication of the appointment of Bongololo Gondwe was made through a letter from the Ministry of Local Government dated March 10 2022 and was duly signed by Charles Makanga for Secretary for Local Government.

“We are not so sure if it (the letter) is really coming from our servant leader, the Head of State Dr Lazarus Chakwera. So be it, we feel strongly that it is a very unpopular decision which the people of Rumphi will not accept,” the letter reads.

The Mtima Gondwe camp also points out that, having looked at the previous judgement on the same chieftaincy Case, Judicial Review case no 10 of 2019, the President was supposed to sign the letter himself.

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“Where the law or practice so requires, the signature of the President on any instrument shall be confirmed by the seal,” the letter reads.

Meanwhile, the camp has asked its legal counsel Wesley Mwafulirwa to file an application for injunction restraining the appointment of Joseph Bongololo Gondwe as Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe.

Mwafulirwa confirmed receiving the instructions yesterday.

When contacted Minister of Local Government Blessings Chinsinga said the president did not appoint Bongololo Gondwe but rather approved findings and recommendations by a commission of inquiry.

Chinsinga said the commission was composed of respectable members from both families.

“What the ministry did was to forward the findings and recommendations of the commission,” he said.

The chieftaincy wrangle dates back to 2018 when the holder—Walter Gondwe— died. His son Mtima had been the acting Paramount Chief until October 23 2019 when he was fully crowned as the Tumbuka chief amid chaotic scenes.

This did not go down well with Bongololo Gondwe, who took the matter to court and his prayer to nullify the chieftaincy was granted. Since then, Mtima Gondwe had been acting as a caretaker chief until the decision by the President to appoint his counterpart Bongololo Gondwe was made.

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