A MAN claiming to be from the senior Royal Family of the Chewa Royal Establishment has asked the Lusaka High Court not to throw out a case in which he sued Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi, seeking an order that he was wrongfully selected and installed as Chief.
Christopher Phiri, a resident of Meanwood, has submitted that the case should not be dismissed for want of prosecution, as he is very much willing to prosecute his case, adding that he shall abide by the order for directions pending to be issued by the court.
In this matter, Phiri has sued Fredrick Daka, the current Kalonga Gawa Undi Mukhomo the fifth, seeking an order that the Gawa Undi was to come from the senior Royal Family instead of the Junior Royal Family hence Daka’s failure to oversee the Chewa Kingdom.
Phiri further wants an order that Daka’s appointment as Gawa Undi of the Chewa people of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, is null and void for irregularity, as well as, an order that the Chewa Royal Establishment selects another person from the senior lineage to be selected and installed as Gawa Undi.
However, Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi is also counter claiming a declaration that Phiri is not a member of the Undi Royal Family and is not entitled to succeed to the Undi throne.
He further wants a declaration that he was validly selected by the ‘Mbumba’ of the Undi Royal Family to succeed to the throne, and a declaration that he was validly installed as Kalonga Gawa Undi Mkhomo the fifth, in accordance with the Chewa customary law of succession.
Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi also wants an injunction to restrain Phiri from holding himself out as the heir to the Undi throne or from in any way destabilising or undermining his authority.
Recently, the Gawa Undi asked the Lusaka High Court to dismiss the matter on ground that Phiri did not want to prosecute his claim for a period of almost 10 months now since he sued him.
But according to an affidavit in opposition to the Gawa Undi’s affidavit in support of summons for an order to dismiss the action for want of prosecution dated December 23, 2020, Phiri argued that it was common knowledge that the matters before the courts had stalled sometime from March, 2020 due to COVID-19.
He added that the same matter was scheduled to come up for hearing on May 11, 2020 but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it did not take off.
“I have been waiting for the next date of hearing to be set by the court and more so for the issuance of order for directions so that I can file a list of documents and bundles of documents and pleadings, which documents my counsel prepared somewhere in May 2020 but could not be filed without the order for directions being issued by the court as per the established rules of procedure,” Phiri stated.
He further argued that the application filed before court by the defendant to dismiss his action for want of prosecution, without skeleton arguments to support the affidavit was contrary to the High Court (Amendment) Rules, 2020 and thus defective, irregular and incompetent in all material respect and ought to be dismissed with costs for want of procedure.
“In the interest of justice, the main action should not be dismissed for want of prosecution as I am very willing to prosecute my case and I shall abide by the order for directions pending to be issued by this honorable court and avail myself through my counsel at any subsequent dates of hearing that this court shall set,” stated Phiri.
“We therefore humbly pray that the court dismisses the defendant’s application in its entirety and be condemned to pay costs to the plaintiff forthwith.”