High Court stops Nkhata Bay chief’s installation

The High Court in Mzuzu has stopped the installation of a new Group Village Head at Bula in Nkhata Bay district after the incumbent  queried his dethronement arguing that the chieftaincy has been in his family line since 1924.

“The decision of M’bwana to suspend or dismiss me  and purporting to abolish my chieftaincy without hearing my side is a very serious breach of principles of natural justice that this court cannot sit down and watch,” said Leonard Peter Chavula who is GHV Kampeya  in his  affidavit (sworn statement of fact).

Under civil cause number 28 of 2012, Chavula through Mzuzu based prominent lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company, sought the court’s intervention after Traditional Authority M’bwana unceremoniously removed him.

Lawyer Kadzipatike: Representing Chavula

Traditional Authority M’bwana was due to install  Merison Kamanga as the new GHV Kampeya on Saturday 1st September 2012.

But Judge Dingiswayo Madise granted an order on 29th August 2012 restraining Traditional Authority M’bwana, his agents, servant or whosoever from appointing or recruiting or installing or choosing Merison Kamanga or any other person as GVH.

“Upon hearing Counsel George Jivason Kadzipatike and upon reading the affidavit in support of the application, it is hereby ordered… that an order of interlocutory injunction be granted,” Madise said.

The Judge also warned that any person who disobeys the order shall be liable for contempt of court and may be committed to prison or fined or have their assets seized.

He also order the applicant to file for an interpartes summons and the main action for injunction with seven days saying hearing will be held within 14 days.

In his application Chavula also said Kamanga who is also Village  Headman Katuwa has been reporting ills about him to Traditional Authority M’bwana.

“M’bwana acted on the reports that I was involved in unspecified malpractices and without calling me to any disciplinary hearing verbally suspended me in December 2011. While I was waiting to be called for a hearing, I went to see Nkhata Bay District Commissioner and he told me that he still recognised as the legitimate GHV,” he said.

Chavula, who denies any wrong doing, also said if he had been wrong in running the office of GVH then a new appointee should have came from his clan.

“The deceison of abolishing our Group Village Headmanship and appointing another person from another village to run villages under my jurisdiction is unreasonable, procedurally improper, illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.

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