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Title: Human rights in Africa: legal dualism in Zimbabwe : towards a new unified legal system
Author: Guni, Vengai Greeley
Awarding Body: University of Buckingham
Current Institution: University of Buckingham
Date of Award: 1996
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This thesis examines and analyses the nature, history and development of the Zimbabwean legal system with special reference to the role and future of customary law and traditional judicial authority. It explores the position of customary law among the other substantive sources of Zimbabwean law - Roman-Dutch law, English law, statutes and judicial decisions - and demonstrates that legal dualism is anachronistic to human rights. The main objective of the thesis is to consider the interrelationship between the indigenous (customary) law with the received (general ) law, the role and importance of customary law and of traditional judicial authority in both the colonial and contemporary Zimbabwean legal systems, and how and why legal dualism gives rise to the infringement of some human rights. In the process the future of customary law, traditional judicial authority and legal system, and of the Zimbabwean legal system is determined. The Zimbabwean legal and judicial system is at present dualistic in nature. This dichotomy has .created conflict between the general law and legal system on the one hand, and the customary law and legal system on the other. This thesis explores ways of reconciling these contradictions with a view to the creation of a common law for Zimbabwe and a monolithic legal system and judicial structure. In this respect it is an attempt to shape the future of the Zimbabwean legal system by creating a new unified system. The possible choices/options lie in abolition of the traditional legal system, incorporation of the traditional legal system into the general legal system, retention of the status quo/dualism, integration of the traditional legal system with the general legal system and harmonisation of the two systems. Harmonisation is recommended as the appropriate and desirable option and method of unifying the Zimbabwean legal system. To test the thesis the following six hypotheses will be explored. First, that it is impossible to suppress customary law successfully. Second, that it is impossible for customary law to remain perpetually uninfluenced by the imported law. Third, that dualism creates and perpetuates conflict. Fourth, that human rights are better served under a unified legal system. Fifth, that coexistence is better than conflict. Sixth, that, consequently, a solution lies in harmonisation and not in conflict. It is intended to propose a draft bill to establish a commission to achieve harmonisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available