Chikulamayembe wrangle in court
The High Court in Mzuzu has set November 8 2019 for hearing of an application for an injunction by Joseph Bongololo Gondwe against installation of Mtima Walter Gondwe as Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe.
Documents which The Daily Times has seen dated October 30 2019 indicate that the High Court, through Judge Thomson Ligowe, has also granted the applicant permission to apply for judicial review.
The case has President of the Republic of Malawi as the first defendant, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development as the second defendant, Rumphi District Commissioner as the third defendant and Mtima Walter Gondwe as the fourth defendant.
Lawyer representing Bongololo Gondwe Michael Goba Chipeta, said yesterday that grounds for making the application for judicial review are premised on that the installation was unlawful because it violates dictates of section 4 (2) (a) and (b) of the Chiefs Act.
“The 4th defendant is not entitled to hold office of Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe under customary law; and the 4th Defendant does not have the support of the majority of the people in the area of jurisdiction of the office in question,” he said.
Mtima Gondwe was crowned Tumbuka chief on October 23 amid chaotic scenes which led to the destruction of Chikulamayembe Office at Bolero, Rumphi.
According to Chipeta, the decision to install Mtima Gondwe was procedurally unfair because it also violates the Constitution in that no reasons in writing were given to the applicant.
“The majority of the royal families, prior to the installation of the 4th Defendant, and pursuant to customary law and a High Court Order of 17th June 2019, had chosen the Applicant as rightful heir to the chieftaincy, a choice which was duly communicated to the 1st and 2nd Defendants through the office of the 3rd Defendant,” he said.
If permission to apply for judicial review is granted, the applicant would demand the installation of Mtima Gondwe to be reversed.
Sub-Traditional Authority Kawazamawe, who speaks for Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, said he would only comment on the matter when served with court documents.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson, Muhlabase Mughogho, said they will wait for an official communication.
Thembala Mathemba Chikulamayembe 12, Walter Gondwe, died in November last year and his son Mtima has been the acting chief.
The Bongololo camp claims Chikulamayembe chieftaincy rotates in 12 royal families and this was their turn.