Members of the protesting family in the Traditional Authority (T/A) Nthalire chieftaincy wrangle have, at the eleventh hour, stopped Minister of Local Government, Kondwani Nankhumwa, from installing Ackim Kawonga as the TA.
The ceremony was scheduled for today at the district council offices in Chitipa.
The cancellation follows a letter which the claimant, Judge Kawonga, through his lawyer, George Kadzipatike, served Nankhumwa and the District commissioner (DC) challenging their decision to proceed with the installation while the matter was in court.
Nankhumwa confirmed the development in a text message saying: “We are not proceeding, we just got a notice.”
In the letter which we have seen, Kadzipatike warns the DC and the government that the installation would have been illegal.
“Guide the minister to pend the installation until conclusion of the matter in High Court,” reads the letter in part.
The Nthalire chieftaincy came under dispute last year following the death of the then T/A, Rabson Kawonga in August.
Judge Kawonga who claims to be the legitimate heir to the throne sued his brother Ackim and DC for Chitipa for recognising the former as an heir and letting him operate in acting capacity.
Through his legal counsel Kadzipatike, Judge argues that the Nthalire chieftaincy rotates among three royal families of Chikunguweya, Zambwe and Chalaghala.
In the court summons filed in December, it is stated that after the death of Rabson, who came from the Chaghalala family, it is now the turn of the Chikunguweya family to which Judge belongs.
The first defendant—Ackim— belongs to the Zambwe family.
“Before the introduction of the rotation, the Nthalire chieftaincy had only one royal family, namely the claimants Chikunguweya Family but the other two families came through the backdoor during the one-party era which removed the legally crowned Traditional Authority Reuben Kawonga due to political reasons in 1963,” reads the summons in part.
Adding: “The Claimant is of the view that the Acting Traditional Authority Nthalire ought to and must come from the Chikunguweya Family, because this is the turn of the Chikunguweya family to take over the throne.”
Kadzipatike asked the court to invalidate the DC’s decision of recognising Ackim as T/A and also restraining him from executing duties.
But before the court made its determination on the matter, the government intended to conduct the installation, a decision which the claimant disapproved.
Coincidentally, Nankhumwa is tomorrow expected to install the Mankhambira chieftaincy in Nkhata Bay which is under dispute between Baden Chakwanika and Harry Makwakwata
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