Customary law

Too many heirs to this traditional Zambian throne

ZAMBIA’S courts have been wrestling with how to resolve a dispute over a “novel situation”: too many contenders to the throne of Chief Kapijimanga, leader of the country’s Kaonde people. The high court proposed an unusual remedy for this dilemma, namely that all subjects should be involved in considering the way forward. But this apparently democratizing approach was overturned on appeal with the supreme court finding that the electoral college of royal family members traditionally made such decisions – not their “subjects”.

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BY tradition, for a year after the death in 2008 of Ostralia Katuka, Chief Kapijimpanga IV, no new leader was installed over Zambia’s Kaonde people of NorthWestern Province. But behind the scenes a number of family groups engaged Sandangombe, the “kingmaker”, to discuss who they thought should succeed to the throne.

High time to overhaul Lesotho’s offensive colonial-era laws

A SIGNIFICANT new decision from the high court in Lesotho has found that a widow is entitled to inherit according to the joint will that she and her husband made. The court also found that her deceased husband’s family could not contradict the wishes expressed in that will and use customary law to decide for themselves how to dispose of the estate.


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THIS is a story that begins with a divorce: in 1991 to be precise, when the marriage of Sello Matete and his first wife, Malebina Matete, ended.

Some 20 years later Matete remarried, this time to Matebello Matete. Their marriage was by Christian rites and in community of property.

Essentials of Akamba customary marriage

Customary Law – Akamba customary law – Akamba customary marriages – existence of Akamba customary marriages – when was Akamba customary law marriages deemed to be in existence – ntheo ceremony - whether a woman whose ntheo had not been paid could receive ntheo for her daughter

Jurisdiction - jurisdiction of Magistrates Court - burial disputes - whether the magistrate Courts had the jurisdiction to hear and determine burial disputes - Magistrate’s Court Act No. 26 of 2015 Section 7(3)(b)

Munyao Ndolo & 3 others v Mary Nduku Mutisya [2018] eKLR
HCCA No 134 of 2017
High Court at Makueni
C Kariuki, J
July 31, 2018
Reported by Safiya Awil Ibrahim

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