Free law courses for chiefs Chief Charumbira
Chief Charumbira

Chief Charumbira

Masvingo Bureau
Great Zimbabwe University and the Zimbabwe Chiefs’ Council have agreed a landmark deal that will see the institution of higher learning offering free law courses to 272 chiefs in the country as part of efforts to improve justice delivery at the lower-tier level.

The inaugural group of chiefs to undergo law training is expected to start classes at the beginning of next year with graduates receiving certificates after 12 months of academic drilling in basic law.

The studies will be conducted at GZU’s Herbert Chitepo Law School that was officially opened by President Mugabe at the end of last year.

In an interview on Tuesday, Dean of the Faculty, Mr Victor Nkiwane said plans to train traditional leaders in law were now at an advanced stage.

“We are close to concluding our discussions with the leadership of the country’s traditional leaders while at the same time working on the subjects that will be taught because we want the chiefs to also have a say on what they will be taught,’’ he said.

“The courses will be done over a year with graduates getting certificates. We decided to offer the courses to our traditional leaders for free because they play a key role in the country’s justice delivery system,’’ he said.

Mr Nkiwane said among the courses to be taught was an Introduction to Law, Ethics and Court Procedures to help the primary courts to handle cases better.

“Traditional leaders play a key role in the administration of justice and we will teach all the country’s chiefs in batches because we want uniformity in the way our traditional leaders handle cases at their courts,’’ he said.

Zimbabwe Chiefs’ Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira said there was need for more recognition for the role played by traditional leaders in the country’s justice delivery system.

He said besides imparting legal skills to traditional leaders, there was also a need to avail more resources to traditional courts to improve their operations.

He said an estimated 60 percent of all court cases in Zimbabwe were handled by traditional leaders at their primary courts every year.

Traditional leaders have come under fire for abusing traditional courts by handing unrealistic sentences, a practice partly blamed on the chiefs’ ignorance of the law.

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