Over 90 subjects of Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II have dragged her royal highness to court for allegedly claiming ownership of their land so that some international investors could build a shopping mall there.
The subjects claim that Chieftainess Nkomeshya, acting through her agents, has continued to harass and intimidate them, including threatening to destroy the crops that they planted in the 2018/2019 farming season.
Mandalena Mungalaba has sued Chieftainess Nkomeshya (Elizabeth Mulenje) on behalf of 94 others, seeking an order of interim injunction restraining her royal highness from interfering with their rights and possession of their respective pieces of land.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Wednesday, the plaintiffs stated that they were subjects of Chieftainess Nkomeshya’s chiefdom in Chongwe district.
They added that they were legal owners of pieces of land in the chiefdom and had been in possession of the land for periods exceeding 20 years.
“The plaintiffs have collectively used the land for subsistence agricultural activities to sustain their livelihood,” read the statement of claim.
The plaintiffs stated that in or about 2003, government wished to construct a state of the art sports stadium in Chongwe district and their land was identified for that purpose.
They stated that when they objected to the proposal to construct a sports stadium on their farmland which catered for more than three thousand villagers, government rescinded its decision.
“The plaintiffs will aver that as a result of their objection, government rescinded its decision and since then, the plaintiffs have enjoyed quiet possession of their respective parcels of land,” read the statement of claim.
The plaintiffs stated that in 2018, the Chongwe District Council ordered those who were trading along Great East Road next to their respective fields to be removed due to the cholera outbreak.
They stated that as the result of their removal, the first plaintiff, Mungalaba, offered part of her field as alternative trading space to those who were displaced.
The plaintiffs claimed that no sooner had the alternative trading space been cleared, Chieftainess Nkomeshya’s agents or servants, visited them and claimed ownership of the said land, stating that her royal highness intended to bring investors to develop the land.
They further claimed that since then, Chieftainess Nkomeshya acting through her agents or employees, had on various occasions harassed and intimidated them with eviction and demolition of the structures which they had erected on the alternative trading place given by the Mungalaba and other areas.
The plaintiffs stated that they were reliably informed that Chieftainess Nkomeshya wished to displace them in preference to prospective international investors who were interested in building a shopping mall for her sole benefit.
“The plaintiffs will aver at trial that the defendant (Chieftainess Nkomeshya), acting through her agents, employees or servants has continued to harass and intimidate them, including threatening to destroy the crops that the plaintiffs did plant in the 2018/2019 farming. As a result, the plaintiffs have been gripped with fear of having their crops destroyed and their market stalls demolished,” read the statement of claim.
They stated that in October last year, they attempted to hold a meeting with Chieftainess Nkomeshya to resolve the matter amicably but she failed or neglected to respond to their overtures to meet with them.
The plaintiffs lamented that they had suffered embarrassment, mental anguish, distress, torture, inconvenience, loss and damage.
They now seek an order of interim injunction, restraining Chieftainess Nkomeshya by herself, her agents, employees or servants from interfering with their rights and possession of their respective pieces of land.
The plaintiffs are further seeking for a declaration that they are legally entitled to occupy the land which they are in possession of, an order for the return of all illegally confiscated building materials and equipments, damages for inconvenience, costs and any other relief.