Newly-installed Traditional Authority Kilupula of Karonga has been stopped from executing duties of his office as one way of easing tension in the area.
Both Karonga district commissioner (DC) Emmanuel Bambe and Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Augustine Mtendere confirmed the suspension on Tuesday.
Mtendere said he delivered the suspension letter to the chief on Christmas Day.
In October this year, government installed Posiano George Mwantende as T/A Kilupula despite an injunction obtained by William Kalongera Mwakikunga stopping the process.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Grace Maseko then said the installation went ahead, arguing the injunction was lifted, a claim Mwakikunga’s lawyer, Wapona Kita, dismissed.
Kita threatened to file for contempt of court, but changed his mind and opted for full hearing.
According to Bambe, the idea to suspend the chief is to calm the situation after commotion that started soon after his installation.
Said Bambe: “When T/A Kilupula was being installed, there was an injunction. The idea is to resolve the issue so that things can be normal in the area.”
In the fracas that ensued, some houses were also torched, rendering some residents homeless.
Meanwhile, Bambe said any business pertaining to T/A Kilupula has reverted to the DC’s office.
On his part, Mtendere agreed that the suspension is basically to try and resolve the problems in the area.
“There are reports of problems in the area since the installation. We want to institute an investigation into the matter and until government is satisfied with the situation, he [chief] remains suspended,” said Mtendere, agreeing with the DC that the injunction is another reason.
Ngonde Paramount Chief Kyungu is on record as having backed the suspended chief, saying he is the rightful heir to the throne. He, however, refused to comment on the suspension on Tuesday.
But lawyer Wapona Kita was all smiles with the suspension.
In a related development, government has also suspended T/A Chimombo of Nsanje to pave the way for investigations into concerns from his subjects that he is ill-treating them, according to Mtendere.
Chimombo told the Malawi News Agency (Mana) that he is not shaken by the suspension and that he will appeal against the decision.