Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa risks arrest for contempt of court for disobeying a court order to install Alfred Banda as sub- Traditional Authority (ST/A) Mwacheka of Senior Chief Dzoole in Dowa.
Passing his determination in a judicial review on civil case number 40 of 2014, on July 19 this year, High Court judge Dingiswayo Madise ordered the installation of Banda within 60 days from the time the ruling was made, but with two days to go before the period expires, government is yet to take action.
Banda, through his legal counsel George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company, has since written Attorney General (AG) Charles Mhango, warning of their intentions to move the court on the matter.
In a letter dated September 13 to the AG that Malawi News has seen, Banda is demanding installation.
It has also been copied to Nankhumwa, the Director of Chiefs in the same ministry and the District Commissioner (DC) for Dowa.
“The High Court in the above matter dated July 19 2017, The minister of local government and rural development plus district commissioner for Dowa and senior chief dzoole were ordered to ensure that the installation ceremony for Alfred Banda take place within 60 days from July 19, 2017.”
“We are only remaining with five days. Please comply with direction of the court otherwise we shall file contempt of court proceedings after September 19, 2017,” reads the letter.
Justice Madise’s decision in July followed a stay order that stopped David Chiwaya and restrained Banda, who was appointed by former president Joyce Banda on December 5, 2013, from serving as chief until after a court review.
Banda was on March 22, 2014 set to be installed ST/A but the respondents [Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development] announced that Chiwaya had been appointed ST/A Mwancheka.
But according to Kadzipatike, the July 19 order that an installation ceremony has to be conducted needs to be adhered to and that the Attorney General has already been served with the letter.
“What we are saying is that if Banda is not installed as STA Mwancheka Matapira within these 5 days, it will be contempt of the High Court of Malawi and an affront to the rule of law.
“The Minister of Local Government, District Commissioner for Dowa and Senior Chief Dzoole will be responsible for contempt of court and may be imprisoned,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
Mhango and Nankhumwa did not pick up their phone when contacted yesterday.
When contacted, Minister of Information Nicholas Dausi promised to call back after consulting on the matter, but never did until we went to press.
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