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Zim Justice System Captured: Traditional Leaders

Local chiefs have expressed concern over prioritization of “exotic” judiciary systems which they say have captured and alienated traditional practices.

They were speaking at a two-day workshop on Promoting Human Rights and Access to Justice organised by Legal Resources Foundation early this week, where they lamented the formalization of foreign judicial systems in the process, relegating traditional ways of solving disputes.

“It is sad to note that we have grown to think that anything from the West is formal. It is further disappointing that our authorities have been captured by Western culture to levels of relegating the roles of traditional leaders in society.

“We have reached extents where if a drunkard down in the rural areas is caught stealing one egg, they are sent to courts that are over 40 kilometers away, an issue that could be resolved easily by a local chief without involving any laborious processes,” said National Chief Council President, Chief Charumbira.

He further highlighted how “exotic” judicial systems lack the “Hunhu Ubuntu” for emphasizing retributive justice while ignoring the restorative aspect.

“One of the fundamental mistakes we made as a nation was not to restructure our system from the colonial government. The judicial systems we inherited are by the elite for the elite. The majority of our citizens that is rural population cannot afford these courts.

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“Judiciary systems should reflect who we are as people in society that is the values of ubuntu hunhu. Unfortunately, our courts emphasize more retributive judgment than the restorative aspect,” added Charumbira.

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