chapter  2
20 Pages

Traditional authority and localization of state law: The intricacies of boundary marking in policing rural Mozambique

ByHELENE MARIA KYED

This chapter explores how post-war security and justice sector reforms in Mozambique have unfolded in the rural district of Sussundenga. Particularly, it focuses on how local police officers have translated the new legislation on traditional authority, Decree 15/2000, and the local reactions this has prompted within everyday policing and justice enforcement. Formally, the police and justice systems in Mozambique have undergone an encompassing, liberal-style democratic reform since the end of the civil war in 1992. This has coincided with official state recognition of traditional authorities, whose role is to assist local state institutions with administrative, policing and justice enforcement duties. The co-existence of democratic reform and recognition of traditional authorities is underpinned by the 2004 Constitution. Here, commitment to human rights and the rule of law are paralleled by recognition of legal pluralism, that is, the co-existence of different normative systems and conflict resolution mechanisms within the nation-state (Griffiths 1986). Legislation assumes that these principles are reconcilable. Decree 15/2000, regulating traditional authorities, reflects this assumption. It posits the unproblematic co-existence of traditional authorities and local state institutions as two separate domains of justice and order enforcement that mutually benefit from collaboration. This assumption underpins legal grey zones in the legislation. For policing and justice enforcement, the decree lacks the operational guidelines on how traditional authorities and state institutions are to collaborate and what their division of labour should be. Rather, it assumes that each system caters for different domains of order and justice enforcement.