The Role of the Court and the Constitution on Police Oversight in Zimbabwe: Prospects and Challenges

Ishmael Mugari, Adewale A. Olutola


The wide discretionary powers that are bestowed on the police necessitate the need for some mechanisms to curb abuse of these powers. The court, as an accountability institution, plays an important role in curtailing police abuse of power. This study explored the role of the court in police oversight in Zimbabwe, as well as examining the effectiveness of this important oversight institution in Zimbabwe. A total of 126 respondents drawn from institutions of accountability, were invited to participate through questionnaires and in-depth interviews. The study revealed that the court is an effective institution of police accountability, whose police oversight role is performed through: deciding on the propriety of police actions; presiding over criminal cases in which police officers are implicated; and presiding over civil suits against the police. However, despite the court’s effectiveness, the limited number of judicial officers and absence of a mechanism to implement court judgements against the police seem to militate against the court’s effectiveness. The constitution was widely viewed to be an effective legal document for enhancing police accountability, though its effectiveness largely depends on willingness of state institutions to adhere to constitutional provisions. Despite some obstacles, the court and the constitution are key independent mechanisms for curbing police abuse of power in the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Journal of Economics and Public Finance

Copyright © SCHOLINK INC.   ISSN 2377-1038 (Print)    ISSN 2377-1046 (Online)