President of the Chiefs Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira has castigated the country’s justice delivery system for “bringing more conflicts than peace”. Presenting a paper titled “The Role of Traditional Leadership in National Governance and It’s Impact on National Security” at the National Defence College on Tuesday, Chief Charumbira said most of the problems facing Africa were due to the application of irrelevant solutions to problems.
He said the Western ways of solving criminal matters was not affordable and accessible, but upheld individualism, while the African justice system reached consensus that built and united the disputing parties and the community.
“Despite the presence of magistrates’ courts throughout Zimbabwe, there are still many people who resort to the chief’s palace for settlement of disputes or for the punishment of offenders,” said Chief Charumbira.
“Peace is more important than justice and peace which was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.
“Jurisdiction should be in sync with societal values and adhere to principles of natural justice trusted by the populace; the court refers to chapters, sections of the law, which the parties are not aware of.”
Chief Charumbira said the African justice system was better than the Western way because chiefs acted upon advice from the elders, while in the magistrates’ courts, an innocent person could be send to jail improperly.
He said instead of the offended being rewarded by the offender, the fine went to the State instead.
“The fines go to the State. The victim gets nothing but in the performance of a traditional practice, a chief sits with his elders and takes decisions with them. Though the final word comes from the chief, his decision reflects the consensus reached at the meeting from the views of all the elders,” he said.
“Participation in court proceedings is not limited to a few parties like those on summons or subpoenas in modern justice. The final judgment never humiliated anybody. It is a correction aimed at reintegrating the offender after persuading the victim to consent to this effect.
Meanwhile, Chief Charumbira congratulated the elevation of Vice Presidents Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa and Cde Phelekezela Mphoko to the Presidium.