In an interview on the sidelines of a two-day workshop held for Midlands chiefs in Gweru, Chief Charumbira said this was enshrined in the constitution and the ZRP was now implementing it.
Chief Charumbira said police had already issued a circular instructing all police stations to serve chiefs and their traditional courts the same way they serve magistrates’ courts to reduce the alarming rate of defiance among communities.
“The customary law says that notwithstanding that the traditional leaders have messengers, the police can serve the traditional leaders as if they were messengers of court.”
Senior Assistant Commissioners Mekia Tanyanyiwa said that they had issued a circular to implement what the law says.
“We have heard police who said they were not aware of that,” he said.
Chief Charumbira said there were many complaints raised by traditional leaders that their powers were limited hence their authority is undermined by their subjects.
He said some values of the African tradition were to some extent inconsistent with the law.
Chief Charumbira gave an example of mbereka, a divorce fine paid to the in-laws in form of cattle as a traditional way of informing them of the separation.
“We have so many incidents where these were reversed by the magistrates because it is not provided for by the Roman Dutch law,” he said.
Traditional leaders now have capacity to use the Zimbabwe Republic Police to serve them as well as deliver summons on their behalf, president of the Chiefs’ Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira has said.He said most police officers were ignorant of the customary law hence were reluctant to serve traditional courts.