Traditional African understanding of Law, Order and Justice
Traditional African understanding of Law, Order and Justice-Law in traditional African communities was inherited from the ancestors. It was passed orally from one generation to the other. Laws existed as taboos, customs and norms.Some of the practices that promote law, order and justice include:Punishment of offendersThe punishment is meant to act as deterrent to other offenders.Installation of rulers, kings, chiefs and elders.These are installed to maintain law and order and to execute justice.Administration of oathsThese are administered by specialists and are used as a method of establishing and maintaining law and order.Making of covenantsThey were officiated by elders from the two parties. Both parties will promise to live in harmony and exchange vows as a sign of commitment to the covenant.Observing of taboos-Anybody who goes against them faces severe punishment. For example, it is a taboo for one to kill his or her relative.Intermarriages-Intermarriages are encouraged as a way of maintaining law and order especially between two warring communities.Initiating dialogue-This is done where warring groups come together in a meeting and discuss and resolve issues affecting them.Sending emissaries-Emissaries and mediators are sent to resolve issues and unite warring groups.Sharing meals-Meals and drinks are shared when there is a dispute, those involved may come together and share a meal or drink from the same pot as sign of peace.Returning the spoils from raids-Communities agree to return whatever property they had taken from each other during a raid.