First Published: January 29, 2015


A Power of Attorney is a written authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf in private affairs, business, financial or some other legal matters. There are a number of reasons why you may need someone to make decisions for you or act on your behalf. For example, if you are outside the country you may need someone in your country to act on your behalf. You can use a Power of Attorney to authorize someone to withdraw money from your bank account. A Power of Attorney can also be used in cases where one is due to some incapacity e.g. illness or imprisonment, unable to personally attend to certain matters. The person authorizing the other to act is the principal, grantor, or donor (of the Power) and the one authorized to act is the agent or attorney.


There are two types of Power of Attorney:-

  1. General Power of Attorney
  2. Special Power of Attorney



A General Power of Attorney allows your agent or attorney to do any and all things you could legally do. By signing a Power of Attorney the principal not only empowers the agent to act, but also indicates to third parties his or her will to be bound by acts performed by the agent. A properly authorized agent who validly enters into a contract on behalf of his principal is therefore protected from any liability arising from that contract. A general power of attorney is wide and all-encompassing. It gives the agent a vast amount of power to act on behalf of the principal. The fact that a general power of attorney is broad and sweeping may be dangerous for the principal in that an agent may enter into transactions not contemplated  by the principal which may leave the principal liable and facing prosecution whether civil or criminal.


If a principal wishes to limit the agent’s authority to a specific, identified activity or transaction, a Special Power of Attorney should be used. An example could be when you instruct a Conveyancer to pass transfer or register a Mortgage Bond over immovable property, or you appoint an attorney to represent you in court or you give your attorney power to sign documents on your behalf.

It is not advisable to make a power of attorney indefinite or permanent. A power of attorney whether general or special should have a date for its expiration which date must be stated in the Power of Attorney. Powers of attorney deposed to in Zimbabwe must be signed before a Commissioner of Oaths whilst Powers of Attorney signed outside Zimbabwe must be signed before a Notary Public. In the case of countries or territories in which Zimbabwe has its own diplomatic or consular representative, the Power of Attorney may be signed before the Head of the Zimbabwean diplomatic mission, the deputy or acting head of such mission, a counselor, first, second or third secretary, a Consul – General or Vice Consul.


While care has been taken to ensure that this publication is accurate, Kanokanga & Partners accepts no liability for any prejudice, loss or, damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein. The contents of this publication are for general information purposes only. The purpose of this publication does NOT constitute our legal or professional advice. Readers are advised not to act on the basis of the information contained herein alone. Every situation depends on its own facts and circumstances.

Copyright © Kanokanga & Partners 2015. All rights reserved


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