Back to Top

12 | Protection of right to life

Constitution of Zimbabwe (at 13th Feb, 2009)
  1. No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been convicted.
  2. A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of subsection (1) if he dies as the result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of the case—
    1. for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property;
    2. in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
    3. for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny or of dispersing an unlawful gathering; or
    4. in order to prevent the commission by that person of a criminal offence; or if he dies as the result of a lawful act of war.
  3. It shall be sufficient justification for the purposes of subsection (2) in any case to which that subsection applies if it is shown that the force used did not exceed that which might lawfully have been used in the circumstances of that case under the law in force immediately before the appointed day.

"for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property;"...am I correct in assuming this subsection item allows me to defend myself against abduction wherein the purported agents of the state fail to produce valid documentation, warrants or other legal proof for their actions? That should I act in self-defence (from kidnapping and or suspected robbery), I shall not be held culpable?

If I am correct, then let's educate the peasants on this point.

Submitted by James Watadza on 31 December 2009 - 10:29am
Alan Faulner says:

Hear, hear, James.

If you do not have the "right" to defend your life, then your life is not yours to defend; you are, in fact, a slave--not a free man.

Submitted by Alan Faulner on 9 January 2010 - 1:56am
Jeftah Chikura says:

The provision protecting the right ot life in the Constitution is gravely defective. The limitations on the realisation of the said right are undesirable. It should be highlighted that human rights by their nature are inalienable and indivisible and to allow justifications for killing that would otherwise be unlawful is undesirable.
It is highly disturbing to note that the Constitution allows killing "for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny or of dispersing an unlawful gathering". What an unlawful gathering is, especially in the light of the Public Order and Security Act, will almost invariably mean the police can 'justfiably' go on a killing spree whenever there is an 'unlawful gathering'.
Another contentious issue is whether an unlawful gathering, riot or insurrection is an event grave enough to warrant killing of the perpetrators, I don't think so.

Submitted by Jeftah Chikura on 18 March 2011 - 1:03pm
Lisbon Tawanda ... says:

This section is silent on the protection of the rights of the unborn. The Kariba Draft, the NCA Draft & the Law Society of Zimbabwe are very clear on that. Does this mean that under this constitution the unborn do not have the right to life??

Submitted by Lisbon Tawanda ... on 12 March 2013 - 11:16am