Harnessing Local Traditional Authorities as a Potential Strategy to Combat the Vagaries of Climate Change in Zimbabwe

  • Citation: Musarandega, Happwell, Wisemen Chingombe, and Rajendran Pillay. “Harnessing Local Traditional Authorities as a Potential Strategy to Combat the Vagaries of Climate Change in Zimbabwe.” Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 10, no. 1 (2018).
    • Topics:
    • Global Development
    • Keywords:
    • climate change
    • conflict
    • strategy
    • Zimbabwe
    • Africa

While the devastating vagaries of climate change are ravaging communities the world over, especially in Africa, and Zimbabwe in particular, the role of traditional authorities is being overlooked. This paper argues for a relentless push towards the unimpeded involvement of local traditional authorities (LTAs) in the mobilisation of rural communities to adopt appropriate climate change adaptation practices in Zimbabwe. Given its complexity and uniqueness, external intervention through government and non-governmental agents alone can hardly foster climate change adaptation particularly at local levels within communities. Traditional leaders, who have for a long time been useful in the governance of people in various rural communities, can play a supportive role in climate change adaptation. Traditional leaders do not only serve as governance authorities but also know the traditional strategies of combating the negative effects of climate change. Despite the pressure from political interference and the advent of western technological advancement, a lot could still be done to buttress the authority and respect vested in chiefs, headsmen and village heads in the country. LTAs have the power to manage grassroots communities; hence they can be utilised as drivers in the use of traditional climate change adaptation strategies. The paper concludes that political interference is one challenge faced by abusing traditional leadership as a means to gain political mileage. The paper recommends for extended capacity building on the part of traditional leaders to improve their knowledge base. This will enable them to appreciate the integration of indigenous and modern climate change adaptation strategies. It further recommends the revitalisation of the traditional council (Dare raMambo) to deal with environmental offenses with the scope of assisting government efforts to ensure sound ecological practices within communities.

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