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Judge stays judgment in chief Chibwika installation case

LUSAKA High Court judge Mwila Chitabo has stayed his judgment in which he nullified the selection and installation of Julius Muyinda as chief Chibwika of the Lunda speaking people of Mwinilunga region pending hearing and determination of Muyinda’s appeal to the Court of Appeal on August 6 this year.

“Upon hearing counsel for the plaintiff and upon reading the affidavit in support of the application filed herein, it is hereby ordered that the judgment dated July 17, 2020 be and is hereby stayed pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiff’s appeal to the Court of Appeal until August 6, 2019 at 09:00 hours when the matter shall be heard inter parte or until further order of this Court and that costs be in the cause,” ordered justice Chitabo.

On July 17, judge Chitabo nullified Muyinda’s installation as Chibwika for being against the custom of matrilineal succession and rotation practiced in Chibwika chiefdom.

Justice Chitabo had ordered that the matter to be referred back to Lunda Kingdom for the selection and installation of chief Chibwika with the supervision of senior chief Kanongesha and all interested stakeholders and that all the eligible candidates be given an opportunity to fairly contest the position of chief Chibwika in line with the customs of the Chibwika chiefdom.

This was in a matter where Muyinda had sued Matthews Sweta, Ackson Kasapatu, Phinas Mutembu and Obbie Ntenda seeking an order that he was the right person selected and installed as chief Chibwika.

Muyinda, who cited the Attorney General in the matter, sought an order that his installation was validly done as the three royal families (Mushidi, Kalwizhi and Wachikeka – Lunda tribe) properly selected him.

He wanted an order compelling the

State to recognise him as chief Chibwika and that his installation be gazetted as required by law.

Muyinda was seeking a further order of interim injunction restraining Sweta, who is senior chief Kanongesha, his agents or servants whatsoever from interfering with his duties as chief Chibwika until final determination of the matter.

Muyinda, in his statement of claim, said he was a member of the Lunda Royal Family who was appointed as a caretaker (Mwamba Ilunga) after his father chief Chibwika passed away in 2014.

He explained that on May 23, 2015 the three royal families, namely Mushidi, Kalwizhi and Wachikeka, met to prepare for the selection of the substantive chief Chibwika and he was selected and installed.

Muyinda said on June 30, 2015, senior chief Kanongesha called a meeting of selected village headmen for purposes of re-selecting another chief Chibwika and it was resolved that Muyinda was duly selected and installed as chief Chibwika IV-Kutona.

He stated that in March 2017, Sweta (senior chief Kanongesha) wrote a letter alleging that since the demise of chief Chibwika in 2014, the throne had remained vacant and that since his instillation, the State had not gazetted his installation as required by law.

But in their defence the defendants denied the allegations that the selection and installation of Muyinda was in violation of the Lunda tradition.

They said Muyinda was not eligible to be chief Chibwika because the Lunda tradition has strict matrilineal system and only those from the mother’s side were eligible to become chief.

The defendants sought an order that Muyinda, being the son of chief Chibwika, does not qualify to ascend to the throne as it offended the Lunda tradition.

They further sought an order that the matter be referred back to the Lunda Kingdom for the selection of and installation process.

In a judgment dated July 17, justice Chitabo said that there was no evidence on record to show that the relevant stakeholders were present during the selection of Muyinda.

He said Muyinda could not take over from his father as the system of rotation that was not followed (matrilineal system) meant that a son could not succeed his father and as such a system of rotation was employed in the succession to the throne.

Justice Chitabo said he was satisfied that the plaintiff was not validly elected and installed as chief Chibwika because the system of rotation was not followed and that Muyinda is the biological son and could not succeed his father according to their custom.

He found that the defendants counter-claim succeeded.

“I accordingly discharge my earlier injunction granted in favour of the plaintiff on May 3, 2017,” said justice Chitabo.

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