Zimbabwe spent $155,000 on ‘hideous’ powdered wigs for judges, angering citizens


April 05– Apr. 5–Zimbabwe citizens are angry after the government reportedly spent $155,000 on “hideous” powdered wigs for the country’s judges.

The country’s Judiciary Service Commission placed orders for 64 horsehair wigs from Stanley Ley Legal Outfitters, the Zimbabwe Independent reported.

The wigs cost between $1491.81 and $2,801.23 depending on the style. Every legal wig is “handmade by craftsmen in England using traditional methods unchanged over centuries” and are made from 100% horsehair.

Arnold Tsunga, director of Africa’s International Commission of Jurists, said wearing judicial wigs is a colonial tradition that continues “with all of its costs and controversy without any meaningful benefit to access to justice.”

Some of the wigs were delivered last week, the Independent reported.

Hopewell Chin’ono, a journalist and filmmaker from Zimbabwe criticized the over-the-top purchase on Twitter.

“These are people who shout about sovereignty and anti-colonial rhetoric and yet they are still wearing hideous wigs,” Chin’ono said.

“I have argued here that this country suffers from a catastrophic mismanagement of resources,” Chin’ono later wrote. “How do you explain a government allocating $155,000 for wigs to be bought in England when the same government is failing to buy bandages and betadine for infants in pediatric wards?”

United Nations experts have said government policies in Zimbabwe are making the country’s economic crisis worse in a statement on Thursday.

While the nation’s elite are safe from financial harm, citizens living in or near poverty are hurt the most by policies that have recently increased the price of fuel, public transportation fares and food, the UN report said.

Zimbabwe was ranked 107 out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index in 2018, with 72% of its people living below the poverty line.


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