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Changing perspectives on chieftaincy in Zambia’s public law history

Kalunga, Felicity 2022. Changing perspectives on chieftaincy in Zambia’s public law history. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The thesis studies chieftaincy in the post-independence public law history of Zambia. Chieftaincy is an important empirical phenomenon for the study of public law in Africa, and Zambia in particular, because of the country’s history, constitutional recognition of chiefs, and the role of chiefs in the local governance. The study was guided by two research questions. Firstly, how has chieftaincy evolved under the post-independence constitutional law history of Zambia? Secondly, how has case law on chiefs influenced the development of public law in Zambia? With regards to the first question, the thesis finds that because of their position in the colonial government, chiefs had considerable influence in the constitutional processes leading to the adoption of the independence constitution. They, however, lost this influence shortly before independence which resulted in their exclusion from mainstream government structures and constitutional developments in the post-independence period until the late 1990s. Chiefs nevertheless continued to perform governance functions in their local communities. Following the re-introduction of plural politics in 1991, chiefs regained influence in the constitutional processes. This culminated in the 2016 constitutional amendment which, among other provisions, revokes the presidential authority to recognise chiefs. These increased guarantees to chieftaincy are, however, not accompanied by corresponding limits or provisions to improve access to justice for people adversely affected by chiefly power. With regards to the second question, the thesis finds that jurisprudence on judicial review or constitutional challenges against chiefs is underdeveloped. The available cases, however, demonstrate willingness by courts to control the public power of chiefs. The slow pace of development of public law jurisprudence on chieftaincy can be attributed to the reluctance by people to sue chiefs, limited access to justice by rural communities, and unwillingness by courts to determine claims against chiefs whom they perceive as traditional rulers and therefore outside the domain of public law.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > KZ Law of Nations
Uncontrolled Keywords: Public law, Legal Pluralism, access to justice, Africa, Zambia constitutional history, chieftaincy, traditional and hybrid governance institutions, local government, customary land
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 March 2023
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2023 15:00

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