The High Court in Mzuzu has quashed former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s decision to appoint Pasiano Mwantende as Traditional Authority (T/A) Kilipula of Karonga and has since ordered government to appoint William Kalongolera Mwakikunga as T/A within 28 days.
On December 7 2011, Bingu appointed Mwantende as T/A Kilipula who was scheduled for installation March 10 2012 after the late paramount chief Kyungu submitted Mwantende’s name to Karonga district commissioner for onward transmission to the president.
However, Mwakikunga challenged the decision to have Mwantende as T/A considering that Mwantende’s family reigned before whereas his had not.
As per their tradition, chieftaincy revolves among five families. Initially, there were six families, but one of the families broke out to be T/A Mwakawoko.
Mzuzu-based High Court judge Dingiswayo Madise, in his ruling on Wednesday, found the president to have erred in appointing the T/A in disregard of protocol on the ground and acted basing on Kyungu’s submission.
Reads the judgement in part: “From the testimony, it is clear that the advice of Chief Kyungu was ill-conceived. I, therefore, find in my considered opinion that the President’s actions were characterised by illegality, procedural impropriety and irrationality.”
Madise said he found evidence presented by Mwakikunga more convincing, adding that Kyungu wrongly installed Mwantende. He said the installation and appointment were against the Ngonde custom and the Chiefs Act.
The judge also said it was clear that the president was misguided when he formally appointed Mwantende; hence, he wanted to correct the anomaly by instituting a second commission of inquiry.
“I, therefore, grant a like order certiorari quashing the decision of the President and or of the secretary for Local Government that purported to appoint Pasiano Mwamtende as T/A Kilipula. On similar note, I further quash the decision of Paramount Chief Kyungu which purported to install Pasiano Mwantende as T/A Kilipula,” said the judge.