Traditional leaders are against Presidential power which gives the head of State absolute authority to divide or merge provinces, Chiefs have submitted before the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs.

The traditional leaders said on Friday that Article 151 in the Constitution Amendment Bill should be revised to provide for consultation between the Head of State and chiefs when the need to either divide or merge provinces arises.

House of Chiefs representative Apollonia Ngenda submitted that the House of Chiefs was of the view that the article 151 should read as follows; “The President may, in consultation with chiefs and subject to the approval of the National Assembly, create or divide a province or merge two or more provinces, as prescribed.”

Ms Ngenda also said the removal of Article 296 which was in the First Draft Constitution dated April 30, 2012 from both the Final Draft Constitution dated October 23, 2015 and the Amendment Bill had been commended by the House.

She said the Article was perceived to have defined almost all land as state land with the continued convention of customary land to state land making chiefs fear that soon they would have no land to administer. “Chiefs feel that customary land and customary tenure need to be protected as much as state land and leasehold tenure,” Ms Ngenda said.

Meanwhile, the House of Chiefs has welcomed the inclusion of Article 121 (d) which recognises Traditional Courts.  Ms Ngenda said the chiefs had observed that local courts in the country might not adequately service rural communities as some communities were located far away from the nearest local courts.

“The inclusion of article 121 (d) which provides for other courts is therefore welcome as there will be provision should government decide to recognize traditional courts,” Ms Ngenda said.

She said traditional courts which were not recognised and not supported financially by government continued to provide justice to rural communities.

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