Chief Chiengele’s Degazetting


GOVERNMENT should have waited for the determination of the High Court case in which Chief Chiengele of the Mbunda in Western Province  has sued the Barotse Royal Establishment over his dethronement.

The background is that Barotse Royal Establishment dethroned the former chief Chiengele and his entire Kuta of the Mbunda people in Limulunga, for allegedly being disloyal to the Litunga by raising himself to the level of a king.

Chief Chiengele rejected the move and filed an injunction in the High Court which was granted to the Mbunda Royal Establishmnt on 19 December, 2014 and the case is due for trial on August 6, 2015.

But Government has stepped in to degazette Chief Chiengele before the determination of the case.

This single act of interfering in the judicial process has the potential of giving Government a bad name as people will be looking at degazetting of Chief Chiengele as a precedent.

There could be many others who have disputes in court who would be looking to the ‘kind hand’ of Government to assist them resolve their issues.

But the courts of law should be allowed to determine cases before them so that the feeling of independence is enhanced.

This also promotes the separation of powers in the three arms of Government which is the legislature, executive and the judiciary.

This is reason  why we are surprised the executive decided to step into Chief  Chiengele matter before court determination.

Assuming that the court rules in favour of Chief Chiengele, how would Government handle the situation?

This would set Government against the Mbunda people who otherwise are supposed to work with Government.

We appeal to civil servants to always give the correct position of matters that need resolving by the powers that be so that they do not act in disregard of the law.

When Chief Chiengele decided to take matters to court, he had a conviction that he is right about his claims.

And he is not alone in this belief as he has his supporters who are not few.

If the Mbunda people are made to believe that the court process does not work, the consequences are always dire when people take the law in their hands.

This is not the way to resolve traditional matters as most times are too complicated to handle by outsiders who do not belong to a particular tribe. 

Although Chief Chiengele has been degazetted, it is our prayer that Government will make him understand the reasons behind such action as leaving the issue burning will just leave a simmering situation which may erupt in future.