Home » Judicial » Ministries Delay Realignment of Laws

Government ministries are delaying the re-alignment of laws with provisions of the new Constitution by failing to submit drafts to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to work on them for onward submission to Cabinet.This was said by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza when she appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs yesterday.

“When the new Constitution was signed into law, it was envisaged all ministries would naturally and quickly identify all laws in their respective portfolios for review and also to formulate new policies, which will lead to enactment of new laws,” she said.

“However, due to reasons beyond the control of the Ministry of Justice, our department of legislative drafting has not been receiving much instruction in the volumes commensurate with the expectations of a new constitutional dispensation.

“All I am saying is that it is not only the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice to see to it that we successfully align all our laws to the new Constitution, but we need the cooperation of other ministries to meaningfully finish this task. In other words, the honourable House can interrogate the other ministries because we cannot initiate policies for other ministries.”

Mrs Mabhiza said her ministry had initiated the establishment of an inter-ministerial task-force to work on the re-alignment of laws.

“This task-force is mandated to spearhead the re-alignment of all laws with the Constitution in the form of statutes and regulations,” she said. “It will also spearhead the identification of new areas created by the Constitution which may need to be addressed expeditiously by the enactment of Acts and rally ministries towards that goal.”

Mrs Mabhiza said her ministry was engaging development partners in capacitating Government’s legal aisors in drafting laws, but bemoaned the failure by the Law Society of Zimbabwe, as a critical sector in the legal field, to take an active role in the re-alignment of laws.

She said her ministry had submitted a US$120 000 budget this year for re-alignment work, but were only given US$20 000, although no disbursement has been made yet.

Government has since crafted the General Laws Amendment Bill that is expected to be gazetted soon and will deal with minor changes to existing laws to align them with the Constitution. The amendments are mainly in wording.

Apart from that, Parliament has since passed the Electoral Amendment Act and the National Prosecuting Authority Act, while the Gender Commission Bill has been gazetted for debate to start.

Source : The Herald