The High Court in Blantyre has granted an injunction to Tony Chapo, who is Group Village Headman Kanyama, against Minister of Sports Francis Kasaila and six others from installing Steve Chakuuma as Traditional Authority (T/A) Ngabu in Nsanje.
Kasaila, who is also the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s Member of Parliament for Nsanje Central Constituency and party’s spokesman, and the six others allegedly sought to impose Chakuuma as T/A Ngabu.
Other defendants are Senior Chief Tengani, Harrison Luwishi, T/A Chimombo, Nsanje District Commissioner, Chakuuma and the Attorney General (Ministry of Local Government)
Chapo is representing the three royal families that make up the T/A Ngabu throne. He obtained the injunction on March 9.
According to court documents for Civil Cause Number 7 of 2018, the T/A Ngabu royal families, through lawyer Kuleza Phokoso, obtained the injunction to stop the installation or attempted installation of Chakuuma as well as stopping him from carrying out duties or holding himself out as T/A Ngabu.
They argue that the imposition of Chakuuma was for political purposes and violated the rotational rules of the T/A Ngabu throne and Sena/Mang’anja customary law, apart from the illegal involvement of outsiders namely Kasaila and the other defendants who are not part of the royal families and cannot be involved in issues of succession of the T/A Ngabu throne.
The Ngabu royal families want the High Court to declare that they are the rightful heirs to the T/A Ngabu throne, the purported imposition of Chakuuma was against the Sena/Mang’anja customary law, violated Sena/Mang’anja rotational rules of the chieftaincy and was hence illegal, null and void for also being decided and imposed by outsiders of the royal families who have no requisite authority in the succession matters of the chieftaincy and a permanent injunction.
The court documents further show that the T/A Ngabu chieftaincy is made up of the Kanyama, Kamemebe and Ngabu families, whose holders rotate amongst the families.
The throne fell vacant on the death of Frank Wolesi form the Kamemebe family and since a Ngabu had already been to the throne, the Kanyama family was supposed to present a crown prince. However before that could happen, it is alleged that Kasaila, Luwishi , Senior Chief Tengani and T/A Chimombo came and imposed Chakuuma, a DPP supporter and distant member in the royal families who is not in line of succession to take over.
The court documents also showed that preparations to install Chakuuma were at an advanced stage with Chakuuma’s name already submitted to the Ministry of Local Government.
Justice Jack Nriva granted the injunction effectively stopping the installation and reverting power to the royal families as the matters wait for final determination in court.
The lower shire has become a battle ground between with the governing DPP and opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP), who are battling a proxy war to have their men in various traditional authorities in order to mobilize votes as the country’s 2019 tripartite elections draw closer.