The Right to Privacy, Interception of Communications and Surveillance in Zimbabwe [1]
1.1. The Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the right to privacy i.e the right not to
have one’s home, premises or property entered without their permission; their
person, home or premises or property searched; their possessions seized; the privacy
of their communications infringed; or their health condition disclosed; [2]
1.2. It does not however provide in clear and unequivocal terms a protection against
being the subject of physical and other surveillance in the form of espionage and
same must be inferred or read into the above protection. That is the approach taken
in this paper;
1.3. The right to privacy aforementioned is however not absolute and is subject the
Limitations Clauses of the same Constitution which require, among other things, for
the exercise of the right to privacy to be “exercised reasonably and with due regard
for the rights and freedoms of other persons.”[3]
1.4. The State and even other private institutions and persons routinely subject citizens
to all manner of invasion of privacy by way of either interception of communications
and or surveillance for various reasons that include but are not limited to security,
marketing and other legal duties;
1.5. In Zimbabwe, there exists the legal framework for the protection of privacy as well
as for the lawful invasion of privacy by way of either interception of communications
and or surveillance and the latter is aimed mostly at the detection, investigation and
prevention of criminal and or civil wrongs in the physical realm;
1.6. With the onset and advancement of information communication technology, said
criminal and civil wrongs have also transcended the physical realm to the
cyberspace and so has the surveillance of conduct and the interception of
1.7. The purpose of this discussion paper is to survey the phenomenon of interception of
communications and surveillance in Zimbabwe as measured against the
constitutional right to privacy and regional and international best practices.

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