A high court in Zimbabwe has ruled out corporal punishment as a form of discipline both at home and in schools, calling it unconstitutional.
This comes on the heels of a complaint lodged by a parent whose child was badly bruised as a result of being beaten by a teacher.
The parent, Linah Pfungwa who has a daughter in grade one said she was beaten with a rubber pipe for being unable to read a book which was meant to act as proof that she had done her assignment.
“My child suffered major bruises and I took photographs and pictures… She had deep bruises on her back and she could hardly sleep properly,” the state-run Chronicle newspaper quotes her as saying.
She added that when the images were shared to other parents on her WhatsApp chat they revealed that other kids had been badly injured as a result of corporal punishment.
“I posted the pictures of my daughter on our WhatsApp group for other parents to observe and it turned out that other children had also been assaulted.”
Pfungwa argued that children should not have to go through violence in the form of corporal punishment as it is against their rights. Rather she argued for other forms of discipline to be used instead.
“If my child misbehaves, I ground her by denying her access to television as well as denying her pocket money or other goodies like sweets and presents,” she said.
“If she does well, I reward her by presents or extra hours of watching television.
“My child is well-behaved and well-brought up simply as a result of the dialogue that I use as a means of discipline.”
Linda Pfungwa was represented by Tendai Biti. She also had the support of The Justice For Children’s Trust.
Justice David Mangota who presided over the High Court agreed that corporal punishment is unconstitutional.
“I believe corporal punishment is a physical abuse of children. It amounts to deliberately hurting a child, which cause injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.
He added that Parents and teachers should figure out other ways to discipline the kids they are in charge of.
The implementation of this verdict is however, dependent on Zimbabwe’s constitutional court.