About 13 representatives of five families which are part of the Mbeza Royal Establishment of Chief Nalubamba of the Ila people of Namwala, Southern Province, have dragged the newly installed chief Nalubamba, Professor King Nalubamba, to the Lusaka High Court over his selection and installation as Chief.
The 13 state that Professor Nalubamba, a University of Zambia (UNZA) Dean in the School of Veterinary Medicine, is late Chief Bright Nalubamba’s son and thus cannot, according to their practices, customs and traditions, ascend to the throne because the chieftaincy moves to a different son’s line after the death or otherwise of an incumbent chief.
Pawsen Munamooya and 12 others are seeking an order declaring that the selection and installation of Professor Nalubamba as successor to the throne of the late Chief Bright Nalubamba, was null and void.
The 13 who have cited Professor Nalubamba, Joseph Mwanambulo and Mukamadede Munamooya as defendants, further want an order declaring that Pawsen Munamooya is the rightful person eligible to ascend to the throne of Chief Nalubamba in accordance with practices and customs of the Ila speaking people of Namwala district.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, October 11, the plaintiffs stated that they were representatives of the five, out of eight, families that make up the Mbeza Royal Establishment of Chief Nalubamba.
They added that Mwanambulo was sued in his capacity as the purported secretary of the Mbeza Royal Establishment of Chief Nalubamba.
The plaintiffs further stated that Mukamadede was an ordinary subject of the establishment who without customary authority, performed preliminary rites of installing Prof Nalubamba as chief elect to the throne of Chief Nalubamba.
They stated that the action arose from the lax or wanton negligence on the part of the defendants to follow the practices, customs and traditions of the Ila people insofar as ascendancy to the throne was concerned.
“The plaintiffs will aver at trial that the system of succession in the Mbeza Royal Establishment is not strictly patrilineal or matrilineal but allows for ascendancy to the throne by children of the sons of eligible descendants of the eight eligible families following an order of seniority,” read the statement of claim.
The 16 explained that the original or founding chief of the Ila speaking people of Namwala District was Muuluka Nalubamba who was married to eight wives, each wife having a separate home.
They stated that it was the said founding chief who in his wisdom formulated the traditions, practices and customs of succession to the throne of the Mbeza Royal Establishment.
“The plaintiffs will further aver at trial that by the customs, practices and traditions as founded by the founding chief Muuluka Nalubamba, the ascendancy to the throne is rotational in nature and revolves amongst the eight families that make up the Mbeza Royal Establishment which are: Chiimbwe, Chikabbe, Gogo, Milumbe, Mutenguna, Mwachisowa, Munamooya and Shimabwe,” read the statement of claim further.
The 16 stated that the successors to the throne of chief Nalubamba would be sons from the eight families and their descendant sons in a rotational order following hierarchy of seniority.
“The chieftaincy moves to a different son’s line after the demise or otherwise of an incumbent chief and precludes the family from which the immediate preceding chief hails from ascending to the throne in immediate succession fashion unless there are compelling or extenuating circumstances that the Mbeza Royal Establishment waives the rotational succession,” read the statement of claim.
The plaintiffs stated that Professor King Nalubamba was a son to the late Chief Bright Nalubamba and thus cannot according to their practices, customs and traditions, ascend to the throne under the circumstances.
They further stated that despite passionate appeals for differences to be resolved and customs and traditions to be adhered to prior to any naming of a successor to the throne aforesaid, the second and third defendants working with other unknown people illegitimately named Professor Nalubamba as a successor to the throne, in contravention of their customs and traditions.
The plaintiffs stated that they would further aver at trial that the selection or election of Professor Nalubamba was made in contravention of the customs, practices and traditions of the IIA people of Mbeza Royal Establishment of Namwala district.