Writeshop to align the Traditional Leaders Act

The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on the Alignment of Legislation to the Constitution (IMT) working with the Ministry of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs (MoJLPA) & the Ministry of Local Governance and Public Works held a drafting workshop (writeshop) on the Alignment of the Traditional Leaders Act with the Constitution.

The writeshop was held in at Holiday Inn, Harare from the 2nd of June 2021 to the 3rd of June 2021.

The Writeshop was chaired by the Drafting Division of the Attorney General’s Office.

Stakeholders present at the writeshop deliberated on the role of chiefs in land distribution, how the chiefs interact with various state bodies in the distribution, allocation and safeguarding of communal lands, agricultural land etc

The IMT and Ministry of Local Government and Public Works are committed to aligning the Traditional Leaders Act with the Constitution to ensure its conformity with Chapter 15 and other constitutional principles.

Further, stakeholders discussed ways they can couch the Bill to include platforms where chieftainship can be resuscitated (especially those chieftainships that were lost during the colonial era).

In line with section 281 of the Constitution, the Bill proposes that traditional leaders must be politically neutral. This means that they must not be members of any political party or in any way participate in partisan politics or further the interests of any political party or cause; violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of any person. The Bill also proposes a mechanism of how persons who are appointed as traditional leaders can terminate their political membership upon appointment as a traditional leader.

The IMT is supported by the Delegation of the European Union to Zimbabwe (EU) and the Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR), the EU offers technical support and CALR offers technical support to the taskforce.