AD156: Contrary to court ruling, Zimbabweans endorse parental right to physically discipline children

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Stephen Ndoma

Corporal punishment of children has been a topic of contentious public debate in Zimbabwe since High Court Judge Justice David Mangota’s ruling in March 2017 that the use of physical force to discipline children in school or at home is unconstitutional (Laiton, 2017).

While the case concerning a Harare schoolboy is to be sent to the Constitutional Court for confirmation, debate has raged as to whether corporal punishment is an effective way of disciplining a child and which alternative methods, in the absence of the cane, might be employed by parents and teachers (Charamba, 2017). 

Recent Afrobarometer survey data from Zimbabwe show that a strong majority of citizens regard physical discipline by parents as “sometimes” or “always” justified. While the court ruling addressed corporal punishment of children both at home and at school, the survey did not ask about physical discipline by teachers.

In contrast, Zimbabweans overwhelmingly reject wife-beating as “never justified.”