Traditional leadership role in rural community development in Zimbabwe- opportunities and challenges

Quegas Mutale


The article sought to draw attention towards analysing the opportunities and challenges of traditional leadership in rural community development role. Traditional leaders include chiefs, headmen, and village heads. Focus was also placed on analysis of the position of the Zimbabwean legislation in relation to traditional leadership contribution to rural community development. The major concepts in this paper are rural community development and traditional leadership. The paper was developed from reviewing existing literature. Content analysis of the legislation of Zimbabwe coined part of the paper, together with a strong synthesis of other scholarly work. The opportunities wielded by traditional leaders in Zimbabwe in context of rural community development include legal recognition; close proximity to the community; and representation at the Chiefs’ councils. However, challenges faced involved politicisation of the traditional leadership institutions, conflicts with local governments and the elected local leaders, gender disparities in the institution of traditional leaders, and lack of good leadership skills. Therefore, this paper concluded that traditional leaders in Zimbabwe lacked meaningful participation in community development mainly because of too much assemble between traditional leadership and state politics. Hence, there is need to dis-assemble traditional leadership from state-politics and increase traditional leadership independence.


traditional leadership, opportunities, challenges, rural, community development

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