Saturday, 24 September 2016


Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni, has lashed out at the “pittance” the government pays traditional chiefs as allowances, while accusing the centralised governance system “for achieving what colonialism failed to achieve” in terms of oppressing black people.

Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Thursday evening, the traditional leader said the institution of chieftainship has been set up to fail because it is under resourced.

“If, as a chief, I travel on donkeys, how am I expected to hear cases involving men who drive in twin cab cars?” he asked “The point is that, from the beginning, I am set up to fail. I need to be properly resourced to carry out what I should do. I remember a chief, who stood up at Mhlahlandlela (King Mzilikazi commemorations), and said he had not been paid the paltry $300 for three months. How is he expected to do his duties? The man had not been paid for three months to look after 70% of the population, 70% of people in Zimbabwe rely on chiefs.”

Ndiweni said there was need to ensure that the Constitution and the laws in the country are “indigenous enough” to carry the weight of the Zimbabwean people’s aspirations.

“The other challenge I encounter is that, working from my traditional and customary law; I have to encounter Roman Dutch law all the time,” he said.

“We are 36 years into independence. There should be a heavy gravitation towards elements of my culture. For Islamic countries, and despite its weaknesses, Sharia Law takes precedence over all other laws. In my culture, I can deal with issues of inheritance. Why can’t we just close the master’s office?”

Ndiweni saluted Zimbabweans for trying their best to ensure that the Constitution carried their aspirations.

“Our Constitution needs serious indigenisation. I am thinking here on issues to do with devolution of power. Demanding devolution of power in the Constitution was the people’s way of saying they want the constitution to gravitate towards them and their aspirations,” he said.

“Centralisation has achieved so much that colonisation failed to achieve. It (centralisation) creates the impression that we are all the same, one block. Yet if you go to a wedding in any part of the country, you find elements of another culture; go to a funeral, and you see those elements of the culture there. newsday


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