Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government has come up with a new format for the selection of chiefs in a bid to minimise chieftainship succession disputes, some of which have spilled into the courts of law.
Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage Minister Abednico Ncube said committees consisting of neighbouring chiefs, district administrators, president of the Chiefs Council and officials from his ministry would sit as a committee and select a chief rather than leaving the task to families.
“I am aware of the challenges affecting the institution of traditional leaders. The selection of traditional leaders has been rocked by contestations and disputes; some of which are even spilling into the courts. Thus, I have instructed my officials to be thorough when superintending over the selection of traditional leaders.
“This will go a long way in minimising and mitigating chieftainship succession disputes,” he said.
Minister Ncube said he was alive to the challenges affecting the traditional leadership institution which include lack of vehicles, inaccessible roads to chiefs’ homesteads and the meagre allowances.
He said his ministry was constantly engaging the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development over chiefs’ vehicles and allowances.
“Let me apologise for the late disbursement of the chiefs’ allowances for the months of November and December. It is my desire that chiefs should receive their allowances on time.
“The delay in disbursement of your allowances was partly caused by the new institutional configurations which resulted from the creation of our ministry towards the end of last year. However, the financial constraints currently being experienced in the country continue to hamper progress,” he said.
Government was also seized with the task of amending various laws to align them with the provisions of the new Constitution.
He said his ministry had covered considerable ground inasfar as the alignment of the Traditional Leaders Act (Cap.29:17) to the new Constitution was con- cerned.
“We are pleased with the progress made so far by our legal department for they have covered much ground. But it goes without saying that there are other sticking legal technicalities which need to be exhaustively negotiated between the ministry and traditional leaders with a view to finding common ground.
Minister Ncube was speaking during a meeting with chiefs on Tuesday.