Criminal Justice and the Truth in Zimbabwe: a Necessary Introspection?
MetadataShow full item record
Criminal justice systems in many of the countries in southern Africa are based on legal systems transferred from the erstwhile colonial powers.1 It would appear that by the time of independence the adopted systems had secured such a firm footing that it was considered prudent to retain them. The acceptance of this colonial bequest can be attributed to a number of reasons. One of the reasons was that it was the colonising countries which had set up the colonised states as geographic and political entities. In some cases, colonial delineation arbitrarily created geographic structures that were politically fragile. The colonial justice system offered a kind of common denominator to facilitate the continued existence and cohesion of the newly independent state. The unitary colonial justice system existed side by side with a multiplicity of what the colonialists perceived to be underdeveloped customary judicial systems. The law administered in the customary systems was regarded with a mixture of skepticism and contempt.2 The demise of the colonial state did not herald the recognition of indigenous systems. It also did not spur the development of home-grown hybrid systems. The incoming ruling establishment considered it to be in the political and administrative interests of the emerging states to pre-empt potentially divisive arguments as to what system of law to adopt in place of the colonial system.