Zimbabwe: Traditional Leaders Get More Powers

17 January 2020

The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has announced ambitious plans by government to grant more powers to traditional leaders.

Minister July Moyo made these revelations during a strategic planning workshop for the National Chiefs Council, that government will grant traditional leaders powers to enforce local authority by laws.

Moyo said besides granting enforcement powers to traditional leaders, government is considering plans to set up municipal courts to deal with minor delinquencies that should not be brought before the formal criminal justice system.

He said government will make sweeping reforms on the judiciary system to ensure that it streamlines participation of traditional leaders by giving them powers to enforce municipality by laws.

"We are going to be proposing that we are going to have municipal courts, so we already have the municipal police that can arrest a vendor for selling tomatoes, do we arrest that person and take them to the Magistrate court.

"I believe we cannot take them to court for such minor offenses however if we are to leave them we will have our cities dirty and this can cause outbreaks of diseases like typhoid and cholera.

"We are creating municipal courts in the rural areas we are planning to reform the judiciary system so that it can include chiefs in the execution of judiciary system, in this we believe any by law should be enforced by the chiefs.

"By-laws of all municipalities will either go to chiefs' courts or municipal courts," said Moyo.

He added, "So, when council comes up with a by law on stream bank cultivation, should we take those people to the magistrate or the chiefs, that by law cannot be enforced by our high courts but should be enforced by the chiefs, because they are already seized with the duty to protect the environment."

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