THE Constitutional Court has dispensed with oral hearing of the petition in which four paramount chiefs are seeking a declaration that their traditional authority to recognise, install, discipline and dethrone any of their subordinate chiefs shall continue to be exercised by them.
And Constitutional Court Judge Enock Mulembe has ordered that there being no dispute on the facts, the matter shall be disposed of entirely on the basis of the petition, the answer, affidavits and written submissions.
“There being no dispute on the facts, it is, hereby, ordered that: An oral hearing of the petition be and is, hereby, dispensed with; the matter shall be disposed of entirely on the basis of the petition, the answer, affidavits and written submissions; the evidence shall be in form of the petitioners’ affidavit verifying petition and the respondent’s affidavit in support of answer; the petitioner shall file submissions within 14 days of the date of this order; the respondent shall file submissions within 14 days of receipt of the petitioners submissions,” read the document.
Justice Mulembe further ordered that the submissions in reply, if any, should be filed within seven days of receipt of the respondents’ submissions.
He stated that judgement shall be delivered on a date to be advised.
In this matter, four Paramount Chiefs; the Litunga of Barotseland; Kalonga Gawa Undi of the Chewa people of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique; Mwine Lubemba Chitimukulu and Chief Mpenzeni of the Ngoni people, Eastern Province have cited the Attorney General as the respondent, seeking a determination and declaration that section 2 of the Chiefs Act, insofar as it defines the word ‘chief’ is unconstitutional, and, therefore, null and void.
The four are further seeking a determination and declaration that the chiefly institutions of Paramount Chief, senior chief and other chiefs continue to exist and are guaranteed under article 165 (1) of Constitution of Zambia.
They further want the Court to determine and declare that when a Paramount Chief recognises or dethrones a subordinate chief in accordance with the traditional and customary practices, and informs government accordingly, the State shall acknowledge and accord to such chief, or , in the case of dethroning, cease to accord to the chief, the honour and dignity befitting a chief.
The four also want the Court to determine and declare that every chief and deputy chief shall be paid such subsidies as may be determined in accordance with the Constitution, for the purpose of enabling such chief to maintain the dignity and status of the office of the chief and discharge the functions of the office under African customary law in a fit and proper manner.
And in his answer, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka submitted that the four Paramount chiefs were entitled to the reliefs they were seeking in the matter.
“The petitioners are entitled to the reliefs sought, save for costs, as the petition raises serious constitutional issues and the said costs should be in the cause,” stated Kalaluka.