By SYLVESTER MWALE –
THE Government has ordered the withdrawal of instruments of power from Chief Shimbizhi of the Ila people in Central Province following the Supreme Court’s ruling which annulled his chieftainship.
The Supreme Court in August this year dismissed an appeal by Howard Chipinda against the High Court’s decision last year that declared he was wrongly installed as Chief Shimbizhi of Itezhi-tezhi District.
Justice Gregory Phiri said in his judgment that Mr Chipinda was not the member of the royal family and therefore ineligible to take over the chieftainship.
The court declared that the process of installing Mr Chipinda as chief in 2003 was also fundamentally flawed, wrongful and unlawful as it was in violation of the Ila traditions and customs.
Despite the court ruling, Mr Chipinda has continued to hold onto the throne and enjoy the privileges of a traditional leader, including receiving Government subsidies and attending council meetings as one of the councilors.
But according to documents obtained by the Times of Zambia, police in the province have been ordered to immediately withdraw the instruments of power from Mr Chipinda.
The Government noted that the continuous holding on to the heir was not only contempt of court, but also tantamount to theft because Mr Chipindi was illegally receiving subsidies.
According to the documents, the Government also advised the local authority in Itezhi-tezhi to replace Mr Chipindi in the council chambers as he was one of the three nominated traditional leaders.
Mr Chipinda was elected during a meeting on 7th and 8th July 2003 but has faced legal battles as some members of the loyal family led by Oscar Chikaza argued that the later was not the right person to hold the throne.
Mr Chikaza, a deputy head teacher at Mumbwa Secondary School who was represented by William Nyirenda & Company, argued that Mr Chipindia belonged to Shimilindi Family which was not in the lineage to the throne.
Instead, the court noted that the Muchiya Family to which Mr Chikaza belonged was the right heirs to the throne and the respondent in the appeal case was eligible to be appointed Chief Shimbizhi.