Senators have called for the amendment of the Traditional leaders Act to give chiefs more power in their areas of jurisdiction.
Addressing Senate, Tuesday, Senator Watson Khupe, Tuesday, said there is a lack of respect for traditional leaders hence the need to align the act.
“I hope the new Act that will be established will give traditional leaders the power they deserve,” said Senator Khupe.
“For example, I have seen in many cases where a traditional leader is approached by a citizen in a local area. The traditional leader makes a judgement and somebody just stands up to say ah, ndine marights angu chief, ngilamarights ami chief, meaning that I also have my rights, you appear to be oppressing me telling the chief. Really this thing has to stop.”
He said traditional leaders are undermined in their communities.
“I think the majority will agree that traditional leaders in our country are now not being taken seriously. They are not given the respect which is due to them. Everyone takes a traditional leader like a small boy or an equal boy to anybody.”
Historian Pathisa Nyathi said chiefs are being disrespected because of the transition from the monarchy state to a democratic state.
He said leadership is now democratic unlike in the old days when it was hereditary.
“We are operating in a system where leaders are being elected which is regarded as democratic. More attention is given to modernity, not traditional ways of doing things,” he said.
“Long back chiefs used to be respected because they worked directly from the king, who was respected. There are no kings nowadays.”
According to Veritas Zimbabwe, the Traditional Leaders Act, Chapter 29:17, must be amended to bring it into line with sections 283 and 284 of the Constitution, and to provide for provincial assemblies (rather than councils) of chiefs.
It should also provide for the Integrity and Ethics Committee referred to in section 287 of the Constitution.