Corporal punishment is the use of physical force causing pain, but not wounds, as a means of discipline. BANNED IN ZIMBABWE!!! Justice Muremba recently outlawed corporal punishment in Zimbabwe meaning that it is now illegal for teachers or parents to beat children as a means to discipline them. The ruling has caused a major outcry from those that believe corporal punishment is a necessary tool to groom the perfect adult as kids go through their growth cycle; a necessary evil, they argue.
Section 53 of the Zimbabwe constitution outlaws the subjecting of any person (including children) to physical (corporal punishment) or psychological torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This ruling was really a representation of this part of the constitution that Zimbabweans voted for in 2013. The ban applies to all sectors of the country including in schools, at home and even in courts.
Justice Mangota’s ruling followed an application by a Harare parent, Linah Pfungwa (in support with the Justice for Children’s Trust), who challenged corporal punishment in schools after her Grade One child was subjected to beatings by her teacher in 2016.
Justice Muremba’s order in terms of the draft reads:
“The imposition of corporal punishment and any form of physical punishment to children by any person or persons including teachers, parents or relatives is ultra vires the provision of section 81, 51 and 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“That the part of section 69 (2) (c) of the Education Act, permissive of corporal punishment be and is hereby declared unconstitutional. That section 3,4,5,6 and 7 of the Education Disciplinary Regulations 1985 contained in Statutory Instrument 362 of 1998 be and is, hereby, declared ultra vires the Constitution and in breach of provisions of section 81, 51 and 53 of the Constitution.”
Regardless of which side of the argument you are on, it is clear that everyone will need to be educated on the appropriate forms or ways to discipline children. There is a real danger in that parents and teachers could intentionally or unintentionally substitute corporal punishment with psychological abuse. The trauma caused by psychological abuse can be just as bad if not worse than the potential trauma from corporal punishment. It will be interesting t watch how this ruling is followed up on by the affected ministries to ensure children are protected from alternative forms of punishment that could potentially be more abusive and damaging.
In this day and age is fear and submissiveness really an ethical and effective way to discipline children? Those against corporal punishment will argue that surely we as a human race have evolved enough to be able to come up with more progressive and modern form of child discipline.
We have an article on bullying that will be published in our April 7 publication of the ZimShoppingMalls Printed magazine. That article looks at some of the effects of bullying on victims and the community at large. From the research we have done so far we can safely argue that the consequences of bullying on victims can easily be applicable to victims of corporal punishment.
What are your thoughts in regards to Justice Muremba’s ruling? Do you think this is a good thing or are we setting ourselves up for a chaotic society? How does this ruling affect your faith/belief?
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