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Human rights group petitions Parly

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BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
MATABELELAND Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) has petitioned Parliament to amend the Traditional Leaders Act amid concerns that village heads were given absolute power over all village projects.

MIHR co-ordinator Khumbulani Maphosa told Southern Eye that there was no separation of powers when it came to the administration of village affairs.

“If you look at the Traditional Leaders Act, it says the village head is supposed to chair the village development committee and functions of the development committee are to plan and implement development projects in the village,” he said.

“The same Act says the village development committee reports to the village assembly to be held accountable, which is chaired by the village head again. So that means the village head chairs himself or herself when they are planning and implementing development and then chairs when they are being held accountable.”

Maphosa said the roles change when it comes to ward level because there is both the headman and councillor who assist each other in ward development projects as compared to the village level, where the village head does everything.

“But let’s look at the same Act. It says the ward development committee whose task is to plan and implement ward development projects is chaired by the councillor. It then reports to the ward assembly, which is chaired by the headman and from that manner there is separation of powers but there is no separation of powers at village level when you look at the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Maphosa said it was unfair for one person to take up all roles in a community.

According to Parliament’s Hansard, the petition had been taken into consideration.

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