Perspectives on Vigilantism in the Republic of Zimbabwe

Martin Maunga, Ishmael Mugari, Munyaradzi Tundu


Vigilantism, a phenomenon which is premised on a model of retributive instant justice, negatively affects the moral social fabric. Its pervasiveness traverses local communities and beyond, and involves diverse methods by diverse perpetrators. Prattern (2008) posits that vigilantism, with its symptomatic culture of violence, has the propensity to unseat duly elected governments. Surprisingly, in Zimbabwe, little attention has been given to the threat posed by vigilante activity, yet it is a brutal indictment on policing as well as on the criminal justice system, (Haefele, 2008). This study, a descriptive survey in which 350 participants were invited to participate, investigated the causes of vigilantism in Mbare high density suburb, Harare. The study found that, public belief in a just world, police corruption, public mistrust in the judicial system, political factors, and challenges posed by a downward economic trajectory were some of the contributory causes of vigilantism in Mbare. Recommendations were that: police and the judiciary need to address their real and practical failings, including effectively dealing with allegations of corruption within their ranks; Government must support policing initiatives as well as improve infrastructure; Vigilantism needs to be prioritized and tackled as a form of crime; and a culture of violence must be delegitimized through inculcating a human rights culture in the citizens.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n5s1p323

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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