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Navigating the Libido Dominandi: Intricate Realities of Forensic Psychiatry Research Ethics in Zimbabwe

Virginia Dube

The purpose of this report is to present the inherent ethical issues experienced in conducting forensic psychiatry research in special institutions Zimbabwe. The inertia of the habitus of forensic psychiatry research ethics has consistently been acknowledged as a rather complex conundrum in literature. Zimbabwe is no exception. In Zimbabwe, the precarious double bind exposure of the objectified and disempowered forensic psychiatric patients creates a hysteretic research ethical terrain or platform for the researcher. The platform is such that the Ethical Review Board in medical research gives the researcher ethical approval to carry out a research study on forensic psychiatric patients. The reality on the field is that these potential participants (patients) are gagged by the environment in which they are being cared for. The environment is such that the researcher can only congregate with a forensic psychiatric patient for interview provided the researcher has violated all the provisions of the Belmont Report of 1979. This labyrinthine ethical excursion is a result of symbolic assertion of power and struggle for legitimating between the prison system, the judiciary and the medical system. This scenario then calls for collaboration as academia, practice, professional organizations and regulatory bodies to untangle this intricate ethical web.