Litunga can only be removed by traditional means, says High Court

Litunga can only be removed by traditional means, says High Court

LITUNGA CAN ONLY BE REMOVED BY TRADITIONAL METHODS, SAYS HIGH COURT

The High Court says only the KUTA, (the Lozi traditional court) can remove Mr Edwin Lubosi Imwiko from his position as the Litunga (King of Barotseland).

A panel of three high court judges made the ruling on 30 December 2020 in a case where some Lozi loyalists had asked the court to order the Litunga to vacate his position or allow his subjects to remove him. According to court papers filed by by Nabiwa Imikendu, Litia Charles Mutemwa, Mukubesa Ilukena and Mumbisho Liswaniso, the Litunga is accused of incompetency, abuse of his powers, fraud, begging for money and food from politicians thereby bringing the name of the Litunga into disrepute.

The case started in the Mongu High Court on 3rd February, 2017 but later moved to Lusaka where the Chief Justice set up a panel of the three High Court judges to handle the matter.

Nabiwa Imikendu, Litia Charles Mutemwa, Mukubesa Ilukena and Mumbisho Liswaniso represented themselves in court because they can’t afford lawyers. The Litunga was defended by six lawyers led by Sakwiba Sikota and Mwangala Zaloumis.

The case was dismissed mainly on technical grounds because the complainants (Nabiwa Imikendu, Litia Charles Mutemwa, Mukubesa Ilukena and Mumbisho Liswaniso) did not even know that they were supposed to put their email addresses and postal addresses on their court papers. Note that these are villagers who do not even have postal addresses let alone email addresses. Justice for poor people in Zambia is still 2000 years away.

In dismissing the case, Judges Getrude Chawatama, Charles Zulu and WGK Muma said that apart from failing to put their email addresses and generally failing to understand the court process, the complaints failed to disclose a reasonable cause of action.

The court explained that the petition by the complainants to have the court order the Litunga to resign or give powers to his people to remove him is beyond the court’s jurisdiction (Powers). The Court said removing the Litunga or any other traditional ruler can only be done by traditional methods, and, in the case of the Litunga, the Kuta can remove him. The Court said that the High court can only get involved if the traditional process of choosing or installing a traditional ruler is not observed.

The High Court however told Nabiwa Imikendu, Litia Charles Mutemwa, Mukubesa Ilukena and Mumbisho Liswaniso to pay the Litunga and his lawyers costs for this case. Shameful. How can people who can’t afford to pay their own lawyer afford to pay the Litunga’s lawyers.

We can’t guarantee that these four people have been condemned to death by the High Court. The Litunga and his lawyers are now on these people.

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