Mzimba chief defies court order on installation

Traditional Authority Mtwalo of Mzimba district has defied a court order from the High Court in Lilongwe stopping him from presiding over the installation ceremony of Pius Kamkhoti Mkandawire as Inkhosana because the court had no jurisdiction to sit on a matter that a court of the same jurisdiction had already decided.

Under miscellaneous civil application number 46 of 2013, Mkandawire sought the Mzuzu High Court’s intervention following a wrangle over the rightful heir to the throne.

Group Village Headman Wayinga Singini claimed Mkandawire was not the legal heir and that Traditional Authority Mtwalo erred when he picked him for the post.

In an affidavit filed in support for an application for prohibitory injunction dated 7th August 2013, Mkandawire said Group Village Headman Singini challenge to his appointment was contrary to Ngoni culture because it showed insubordination to Traditional Authority Mtwalo, the appointing authority.

Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company: The installation went ahead
Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company: The installation went ahead

“This is very bad and cannot be condoned as this will be an indirect attack to the Chief’s Act which empowers our Inkhosi to make such appointments as well as our Ngoni Culture which may likely result in chaos,” Mkandawire said.

On 12th August 2013, Judge Dingiswayo Madise granted an injunction restraining Group Village Headman Singini and Owen Singini from stopping or disturbing with the proceedings of the installation of Mkandawire.

Madise warned that any person who disobeyed the order shall be held liable for contempt of Court and may be committed to prison or have their assets seized.

However, Group Village Headman Singini rushed to the High Court in Lilongwe where he obtained an injunction on 15th August 2013 stopping Traditional Authority Mtwalo and Mkomo Lubinga Singini from elevating Mkandawire.

“Upon hearing counsel for the applicant and upon redaing the affidavit sworn in by the applicant is support for the application, it is hereby by ordered and directed that an injunction be and is hereby granted restraining the respondents either by themselves…

“Their directors, servants, officers, employees, agents or otherwise from elevating Mkandawire to the position of Mulumuzana or Inkhosana,” Judge Fiona Mwale said.

Nonetheless, Traditional Authority Mtwalo went ahead with the installation of Mkandawire as Inkhosana following legal advice from his Mzuzu based Lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company.

Kadzipatike confirmed to Nyasa Times in an interview that the installation ceremony went ahead despite service of the purported injunction order from Lilongwe Registry of the High Court of Malawi.

“I advised the Senior Inkosi Mtwalo to proceed as the injunction order granted by Justice Madise mandating him to proceed had not been vacated.

“My legal advice to the Senior Chief was re-enforced by the fact that the High Court of Malawi had lost jurisdiction to sit on exparte application for injunction the moment His Lordship Madise made his decision,” he said.

He further disclosed that it never occurred to him and his clients that the one sued at Mzuzu Registry (Group Village Headman Wayinga Singini) would rush to Lilongwe Registry to file a claim against the one who had sued him.

“This is the worst kind of abuse of court process and I am sure Justice Mwale was not aware that her brother Judge Madise in Mzuzu had already been seized of the matter,” Kadzipatike said.

He said he also doubted if the lawyers who represented GVH Singini were told that their client had in his possession a court order from Mzuzu Registry on substantially the same matter.

“I doubted the authenticity of the Lilongwe documents and could not verify them with the Registrar as the order was served on Saturday, too late, when the ceremony had already started, and two heads of cattle and countless goats had already been slaughtered,” Kadzipatike said.

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