The Rule of Law in Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe was elected into power in Zimbabwe in 1980, the year Zimbabwe was granted independence from Britain. “Unfortunately, what has happened since 2001 is a complete collapse of the rule of law, and it simply has been replaced by this dictatorial regime of Robert Mugabe," says Mark Ellis, the executive director of the International Bar Association.
Once considered Africa’s most sophisticated and developing legal communities, political turmoil in turn caused lawyers and judges to flee the country. The country's prisons swelled and the pre-trial detention population reached great heights .Torture became widely accepted as a legitimate tool for police investigation and judicial processes. A total ...view middle of the document...
At least two journalists have been charged under the Law and Order Maintenance Act since 1999, an act used to suppress opposition. When the High Court wrote orders to release the journalists and not arrest/detain civilians, Mugabe challenged the judges to resign, saying that they had no right to instruct him to do anything. He also said that because of their biased petition, the government could no longer trust them on any case involving the executive.
Legal Aid in Zimbabwe has resources spread thin, with only 15 lawyers available for 12 million citizens across the country. It is difficult to get a fair trial with quality legal representation in Zimbabwe, not everyone is equal in the eyes of the law and Mugabe is seen as “above the law”. Citizens can be detained before a trial and before being convicted. This means the Rule of Law is not upheld in Zimbabwe.
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