Chitipa District Council escapes contempt of court charges

Chitipa District Council has escaped contempt of court charges following the cancellation of coronation of Ackim Kawonga from Zambwe royal family as Traditional Authority (TA) Nthalire which was scheduled for Monday despite a high court order.

Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company: Matter in court

However, District Commissioner (DC), Michael Chimbalanga said the council has spent millions of kwacha on the failed event as the cancellation was announced at an eleventh hour on Sunday evening when preparations for the installation were over.

Chimbalanga, while saying that the cancellation came in a wake of the ongoing tussle of the chieftaincy between royal families over the legitimate heir to the throne, said government would like to take a critical look at the Mzuzu High Court document before re strategizing.

The court order filed by Judge Kawonga for Chikunguweya family through lawyer George Kadzipatike shows that the chieftaincy rotates among three families.

It says the previous chief Rabson Chapasi Kawonga, who died in August, last year, was from Chalaghala family and his predecessor came from Zambwe family.

The court document, therefore, asked Chitipa Council to refrain from recognizing Ackim Kawonga as the eligible successor.

“I received an announcement from our Ministry of Local Government that they have cancelled the installation until further notice. However, the announcement came late after we had spent a lot on travel and other arrangements for some guests.

“We invited three chiefs from neighboring Republic of Zambia and one from Rumphi District, and by the time the decision of cancellation was made, all the invited guests, including our own four TAs, were already in town and were paid their allowances,” Chimbalanga said.

There was a mass service at Nthalire Headquarters on Sunday morning, committing the coronation in God’s hands, and by the evening hours two big cows and 19 fat goats were already slaughtered in readiness for the event.

Counsel for the claimant Kadzipatike welcomed the cancellation saying the coronation could have been nullified by the High Court and that it could lead to contempt of court which could see some council officials being prosecuted.

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