On the 26th of November 2018, I woke up to a disturbing newspaper headline in one of Zimbabwe’s local papers ‘’Lawyer murdered by boyfriend over cheating allegations’. The story was centred on Lucy Duve, a prominent lawyer who spent the most hours of her career representing women on gender based violence cases in the country. It was reported that she died from the injuries that she sustained on her body when the boyfriend beat her up after both her and the man whom she was alleged to be cheating with denied ever having an affair. This occurred at a time when Zimbabwe together with the rest of the world were commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence campaign which takes place from the 25th of November to the 10th of December (which happens to be the Human Rights Day). Every level headed person in Zimbabwe sympathised with Lucy’s family and womankind at large. On that very day the perpetrator was arrested, which was a consolation of some sort as justice was finally going to be served (although this was not going to bring Lucy back to life). He was detained for 50 hours and only to be released on the technicality that he had been over-detained since according to the constitution an accused or detained person should be brought to the courts within 48 hours. Yes, he has his rights which do not have to be violated by the police or the law, but what about him violating Lucy’s right to live? Her parents’ rights to peacefully co-exist with their daughter? Funny how the law sometimes leaves a huge gap on justice. Until now, the perpetrator is walking scott-free. Justice delayed is justice denied and no amount of law jargon, terminology or facts will change the fact that to a greater extent the existing laws do not provide or guarantee a safety net to the citizens or specifically female citizens. This will further exacerbate gender based violence cases as the offenders know they will get away with murder and that the law to a greater extent protects the wrongdoer.
By Precious Chinanga November 28, 2018