After months of squabbles and uncertainty on who would become the next Chikulamayembe—the most senior traditional leader of the Tumbuka tribe—members of the royal council met on Thursday and finally elected an heir to the throne.
But Group Village Headman (GVH) Chikalamba, who oversaw the election, told the press that they could not reveal the name of the elected candidate as of yet.
According to Chikalamba, the name was going to remain undisclosed “until official communication is made by the District Commissioner of the Presidency.
Michael Goba Chipeta, lawyer for the royal family, also confirmed the development adding that the heir to the throne has been chosen according to the court order.
Earlier, the court had nullified the elevation of Mtima Gondwe to Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe in April 2021 citing “some irregularities in his appointment,” and subsequently ordered the royal family to nominate new names for the crown.
According to counsel Chipeta, who attended the meeting at Rumphi District headquarters that lasted over three hours, the meeting was in compliance with what came from the local government.
“You know there was a court case prior to that so the local government wrote that the royal family should sit down and choose an heir to the throne between the contesting parties.
“Members of the royal family met. In that letter from the family, they requested us lawyers to come as observers that’s why I had to travel all the way from Blantyre to attend the meeting. I attended as an observer.
“One thing I can confirm is that an heir has been chosen, but it was resolved that a name should not be disclosed for purposes of peace until perhaps the president himself or the District Commissioner (DC) chooses to disclose. There will be no celebration until the president communicates when he is going to install the chosen heir,” he said.
Chipeta said that as a neutral observer the process perfectly complied with the court judgment because only pure members of the royal family were represented, quoting the representatives themselves.
But the election was not without controversy. The process started with GVH Gonapamuhanya as chairperson, but was later relieved of his chairmanship for reasons that were not disclosed.
Another member of the royal family, GVH Mjuma Gondwe, was thrown out of the meeting because his uncle was already represented in the meeting.
DC for Rumphi, Fredrick Movete, confirmed that an heir has been chosen and a name submitted to his office, but could also not disclose details.
Additional reporting by Manasseh Nyirenda, MANA. Judith Moyo—Nyasa TimesFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :