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

Litunga can only be removed by traditional means, 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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  • comment-avatar
    Muwerewere 2 weeks ago

    In this judgement it is clearly stated that the Litunga can only be removed by traditional means. It entails using witchcraft or other under hand methods like was the case in the past. It will be better if the pipo well versed in traditional history will shade more light how a traditional leader can be removed using traditional methods. In the case of Zambia a President is put into power or removed through the ballot paper or impeachment. The judgement has opened a pandora box on traditional means of removing traditional leaders. Now we forget about going to courts of law when dealing with traditional matters. Traditional Doctors will be having field days in improving their powers to help those who want to aspire for traditional leadership.

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    Edith the Editor 2 weeks ago

    You guys at watchdog are amateurs. It’s professionally unethical to provide your opinions in a news story. The news should be reported without comments. If you want to comment you do so on an editorial page which is clearly labelled so. A story should not have editorial comments such as “shameful” or “Justice for poor people in Zambia is still 2000 years away”
    Just stick to the events. In defamation cases you won’t be able to defend yourselves

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    FuManchu 2 weeks ago

    These villagers needed to indicate email and postal addresses and it becomes a technicality for tossing out the case! Colonialism still rules in a variety of ways for independence just took the coat off the white colonialists and dressed the blacks! Most of the legal issues that the whites could not fit into their imported system they referred to ‘local courts’ (native affairs)! At independence till to date the “learned” black Zambians have failed to harmonize indigenous Zambian justice systems with the ‘imported’ colonial imposed one, thus sheep wool wigs still remain in vogue! Well the judgement has just cemented/recognized the existence of an autonomous legal system under Barotseland!

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    mukosa liteta 2 weeks ago

    Before you touch a snake by the tail, make sure of three things:

    1. You know what you are doing,2. How venomous is the snake is, and 3. Can you bear the consequences?

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    Musumali Liyunga 2 weeks ago

    This judgement is good because it is also an admission that Barotseland is sovereign state that has nothing to do with Zambian laws.

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    Just because the Litunga has been receiving the head of state.Zambia ll never grow.The President is for all Zambians regardless of Political affiliation.