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Insight & Analysis - September 13, 2022

African Countries With Worst Justice System

Most African countries like Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria are notorious for having poor justice systems. This has caused a lot of controversies regarding the continent and has been one of the key problems driving conflict between expectation and reality in Africa.

When 35 African countries were polled by the polling organisation Afrobarometer on whether they believed judges who delivered justice were corrupt, 65% of respondents claimed “some” or “most” of them were. Another 11% did not take any chances and responded that “all of them” were thieves. Such perceptions help shape reality by keeping good people out.

Without a functioning criminal justice system, a government is impossible to have in any meaningful sense; chaos reigns and no one is safe. The government can function and law and order are maintained with an efficient justice system. Here are some African countries with the most appalling justice systems.


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1. Egypt

Egypt’s Judicial System consists of up to three Supreme Court: the Supreme Administrative Court, the Court of Cassation, and the Supreme Constitutional Court. 

However, the Egyptian judicial system is beset by a number of problems, including, inefficiency, a slow pace of justice delivery, a lack of independence for the judiciary, a failure to uphold the rule of law, and meddling from the executive branch in the affairs of the judiciary.

According to the 2021 World Justice Project’s Rule of Law, Egypt had an overall score 0.35. Egypt is one of the least transparent countries in the world, with individuals having little to no input into governance and policymaking.

More specifically, there is a lack of government responsibility to its population and restricted information availability for citizens. 

2. Zimbabwe 

Zimbabwe is ranked very poorly using the seven factors that are to determine a good justice system, according to the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index. The country scored 0.39.

Basic laws and citizens’ rights are not upheld in Zimbabwe. Additionally, there is frequently an arbitrary rule on the part of the government, which is thwarted by the drawbacks of corruption, improper financial management, a lack of accountability and transparency, and meddling in the judiciary’s activities.

The reason Zimbabwe’s justice system is so bad is that the judiciary is not independent, it is difficult to access the courts, and cases take a long time to resolve even for those who can.

3. Cameroon

Due to the slow pace of justice delivery in the state and the judiciary’s reliance on other government agencies, Cameroon is known for having an ineffective judicial system and a weak judiciary.

Cameroon has one of the worst judicial system in the world, according to a report by the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, the foremost source of original and independent data on the rule of law worldwide.

They scored an overall score of 0.35. In addition to having a subpar judicial system, Cameroon also struggles with corruption, instability, and a lack of government accountability.

4. Nigeria

Nigeria has 36 state-level high courts in addition to the Federal High Court. A Sharia court of appeal and a customary court of appeal are both permitted in each state.

Nigeria has a general score of 0.41 on the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index for 2021. a subpar rating as compared to other nations.

The Nigerian judiciary is plagued by bribery, corruption, and lack of accountability. It is unclear whether the recent abductions of judges in the nation—or of their wives and children—were done so only to extract ransom payments or to sway their opinions on legal issues.

5. South Africa

Across the board, South Africa received a World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index score of 0.58. The nation’s Constitutional Court has acted as a bulwark of independence by opposing the executive branch. 

However, Jacob Zuma, a president who is facing 783 counts of corruption, has actively weakened other aspects of the legal system.

Senior police officers and prosecutors were replaced with highly compromised individuals after being sacked or forced to quit by him. The courts later reversed a few of these nominations.


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