Nkhata Bay DC faces jail for contempt of court

Nkhata Bay District Commissioner Fred Movete and four others face imprisonment for an unspecified length for wilfully disobeying a Mzuzu High Court order to immediately reinstate Chief Makhambira in Nkhata Bay District in September 2013.

Court documents NyasaTimes has seen show that Chief Mkhambira has filed for a motion for committal for contempt of court and wants the High Court to jail Movete, Chibwana, Chakwanika, Yafeti Chigowo and Dywell Chirwa.

In his affidavit in support for the application, Chief Makhambira aka Harry Matekenya Mnkhwakwata said Movete instead of complying with the Court order had instead “done all it takes to stop me from performing the duties of my office”

Justice Madise: Warned of contempt of court

Justice Madise: Warned of contempt of court

“Movete openly told me that his office cannot work with me or recognise me as Chief. While Chigowo and Chirwa have undressed me in public, stopped me from addressing any gathering or to present myself at functions as Chief,” he said.

Chief Makhambira also alleges that Chigowo and Chirwa have usurped his role and were settling various disputes without his express authority.

“Their conduct is causing tension in communities in my jurisdiction and that is not healthy and such conduct cannot be condoned by this honourable Court,” he said.

Chief Makhambira was sacked because he irked Malawi President Joyce Banda by publicly pointing out that the maize she promised for the district’s hospital never, came.

The Chief said this during the 80th Anniversary celebrations of the Ching’onga CCAP in the district in September 2013.

Chief Makhambira also accused the President of favouritism in the elevation of Senior Chiefs saying many that she has elevated to senior Chief where from the southern and eastern region.

A few days after the function, Movete wrote Makhambira informing him that government had decided to relive him of his duties.

The Chief fought back and through Mzuzu based prominent lawyer George Jivason Kadzipatike sought an injunction from the High Court in Mzuzu.

Under miscellaneous civil application between Mnkhwakwata as applicant and Mr. Chibwana as first respondent, Mr. Chakwanika as second respondent and Nkhata-Bay District Council as third respondent, Judge Dingiswayo Madise stayed the decision to either remove or dismiss the Chief.

“That an order of injunction be and is hereby granted restraining the respondents, by themselves, their agents, servants or whosoever, from dismissing or removing Makhambira pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter or until a further order of the court,”  Justice Madise said.

Madise warned that any person who disobeyed the order shall be guilty of contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined or may have their assets seized.

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