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Re-Emergence of Traditional Authorities in the Struggle for Control Over Land in Dande, Northern Zimbabwe

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Spierenburg, Marja
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Globalisation, the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Conf. Date: June 17-21, 2002
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/899
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Social Organization
Region: Africa
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
land tenure and use
governance and politics
policy analysis
rural development
Abstract: "The swings between a recourse to traditional authorities and attempts to establish a modern local government structure, which have taken place since the Rhodesian period, resulted in complications and confusion about who is responsible for the allocation of land and other resources. A simple return of authority over land to traditional leaders is no longer an option. Some groups may not feel they are represented by these local government structures. Over time they have built their own 'constituencies'. I agree with Alexander (1995) that most problems with local government structures stem from a lack of true decentralisation. If cries for a return to 'tradition' are heard, these can be interpreted as serious demands for local control over land and other natural resources. The new proposals for Village and Ward Assemblies propose a mix of 'traditional' leadership and elected local government structures without a clear definition of the relation between the two. This is bound to create similar problems as described in this article. Furthermore, the assemblies will only be effective if substantive decision-making powers and resources are decentralised to these bodies. The RDC Capacity Building Programme seemed to be a serious step in the direction of real decentralisation. However, given recent developments in Zimbabwe the prospects of increasing local control seems rather gloomy."

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