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High court stops Tumbuka festival

The High Court in Blantyre has stopped this year’s Gonapamuhanya Celebrations which were expected to take place on Saturday due to chieftaincy wrangles rocking the Paramount Chikulamayembe chieftaincy.

Joseph Bongololo Gondwe, who claims to be the heir to the throne of the chieftaincy, has obtained an injunction against the cultural commemorations through lawyer Michael Goba Chipeta until the issue is resolved.

The injunction stops first defendant Mtima Walter Gondwe who also claims to be the rightful heir to the Chikulamayembe chieftaincy and C.P Chilundanya who is chairing preparations for the commemorations from the commemorations until the chieftaincy issue is resolved.

“If you disobey this order you may be found guilty of contempt of Court and may be sent to prison or be fined or your assets may seized,” reads the order.

According to the summons by the applicant which The Daily Times has seen, Joseph Bongololo Gondwe is heir to the paramount chieftaincy of Chikulamayembe, after being duly chosen by the majority of the royal families of the chieftaincy on October 7 2019 this year.

The summons also alleges that the chairperson of this year’s celebrations together with the first defendant are organising the commemorations without the knowledge of Joseph Bongololo Gondwe, who is the claimant.

Bongololo Gondwe maintains that from October 7, 2019 the first defendant ceased to be the Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe and that Gonapamuhanya celebrations, can only be organised and presided over by a person entitled under customary law to hold the office of Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe.

“In 1977/78, for instance, when Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe Ziwange John Hardy Gondwe died and his son Walter John Hardy Gondwe was acting Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, no such Gonapamuhanya Celebrations were carried out on the ground that there was absence of a proper Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe,” reads the summons.

The court has also transferred the case to be heard by Justice John Chirwa at its Mzuzu Registry.

Heirs to the throne of the Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe are chosen from 12 royal families of Khalapamuhanya, Chiwozga, Bwati, Bamantha, Mkupa, Chakanda, Chikulamasinda, Mzakwacha, Bongololo, Juwaunini, Mjuma and Cheyeka.

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