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Chapter: 

I. Legal Framework

Constitutional privacy framework

The constitution of Zimbabwe provides for a right of privacy. Article 17 ("Protection from arbitrary search or entry") states,

"(1) Except with his own consent or by way of parental discipline, no person shall be subjected to the search of his person or his property or the entry by others on his premises." 1

However they are limitations on this right. Article 17 also states,

"(2) (2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be in contravention of subsection (1) to the extent that the law in question makes provision-
(a) in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health or town and country planning;
(b) without derogation from the generality of the provisions of paragraph (a), for the enforcement of the law in circumstances where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the search or entry is necessary for the prevention, investigation or detection of a criminal offence, for the seizure of any property which is the subject-matter of a criminal offence or evidence relating to a criminal offence, for the lawful arrest of a person or for the enforcement of any tax or rate;
(c) for the purposes of a law which provides for the taking of possession or acquisition of any property or interest or right therein and which is not in contravention of section 16;
(d) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons;
(e) that authorises any local authority or any body corporate established directly by or under an Act of Parliament for a public purpose to enter on the premises of any person in order to inspect those premises or anything thereon for the purpose of any tax or rate or in order to carry out work connected with any property of that authority or body which is lawfully on those premises; or
(f) that authorises, for the purpose of enforcing the judgement or order of a court in any civil proceedings, the search of any person or property by order of a court or the entry upon any premises by such order; except so far as that provision or, as the case may be, the thing done under the authority thereof is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.2

Article 17 further provides a significant right with respect to women, "(3) A law referred to in subsection (2) which makes provision for the search of the person of a woman shall require that such search shall, unless made by a medical practitioner, only be made by a woman and shall be conducted with strict regard to decency." 3