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Wednesday, 01 August 2012 10:31

High Court rules on rightful Chief Kabunduli of Nkhata Bay

Written by  Aliko Munde

The high court in Blantyre has nullified the appointment of Edwin Mkhuta Banda as a successor to the Kabunduli chieftaincy of Nkhata Bay district and has instead upheld his cousin

Goodwill Chiwiwi Mwase as the rightful heir to the throne.

In his ruling, Justice Anaclet Chipeta recently observed that former late president Bingu wa Mutharika was misled by a commission of enquiry that handled the matter into appointing Mkhuta Banda as the new chief Kabunduli.

The ruling puts to rest a four-year-long fierce wrangle over the chieftaincy between son to former late chief, Chiwiwi Mwase and his cousin Mkhuta Banda.

The former senior chief Kabunduli passed away in 2007 and the majority of the royal family settled for his son as an heir to the throne.

But a few months later Mwase’s Cousin challenged the succession through courts claiming that Kabunduli’s are of Chewa origin and as such succession descends from an uncle to a nephew.

Since then there has been legal, physical and verbal battles between supporters on each of the two warring cousins.

But the matter has now been finally put to rest following a landmark ruling by a high court judge Justice Anaclet Chipeta who has given Chiwiwi Mwase a go ahead and takes over the reigns of his father’s chieftaincy.

Justice Chipeta based his ruling on eight grounds which include faulting the commission of enquiry that handled the matter for misleading the Former Head of State late Bingu wa Mutharika into appointing Mkhuta Banda as a new chief.

The learned judge noted that the commission of enquiry also failed to comply with rules of natural justice and customary law of succession of the Kabunduli chieftaincy in discharging his duties.

For the past four years that the position of Kabunduli fell vacant, his area has suffered underdevelopment as subjects were preoccupied with chieftaincy wrangles.

Lawyer Ralph Mhone of Racane Associates, who represented Chiwiwi Mwase in the case, says the ruling has vindicated his client’s position.

The High Court has also ordered that the respondent in the case, which is the state, pay the applicant costs of the action.

Nkhata Bay district has 13 Traditional Authorities but four of its T/A’s have been over shadowed with the chieftaincy wrangles like, Boghoyo, Nyaluwanga Kabunduli and Mankhambira.


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