Saturday 29 February 2020


Government expects to complete aligning all laws to the Constitution before year-end, with the outstanding 50 statutes to be tabled before Parliament within the next three months.

The enactment of the Constitution in 2013 meant more than 400 laws which were out of sync with some of the refreshed provisions of the supreme law had to be aligned, while 63 needed to either be repealed, extensively amended or redrafted.

Out of the 63 laws, 10 have been passed by Parliament and assented to by the President.

The General Laws Amendment (Statutory Bodies and Gender Parity Provisions) Bill No. 1 provided for minor amendments to 125 laws, while the General Laws Amendment (Statutory Bodies and Gender Parity Provisions) Bill No. 2 — which is still being developed — provides for minor amendments to 66 laws.

The Sunday Mail gathered that an Inter-Ministerial Task Force (IMT) on the Alignment of Legislation to the Constitution, which was created to expedite the process, is also updating Cabinet weekly, while all State law officers have been trained in legal drafting.

The Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR) — a research institution that offers specialised legal training and technical support — oversaw the training.

Secretry for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabiza said the task force is using a real-time Bill Tracker to expeditiously gazette new Bills. 

“The Attorney-General is the driver of the alignment process and he is also the chief drafter,” said Mrs Mabiza.

“I agree he has been doing a lot on the ground, including developing a Bill tracking mechanism which they are using to quicken the process.

“We only have less than 50 pieces of legislation that require alignment and we are working on a strategy to table these Bills before the end of June.”

The IMT has divided laws requiring alignment into 10 different clusters —media and information laws; citizenship and movement of people; security; local government; social services; environment and natural resources; justice delivery; economic services; political and civil rights; and the cross-cutting clusters.

Under the media and information laws cluster, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act is being repealed and will be replaced by the three separate pieces of legislation —the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, the Freedom of Information Bill and the Protection of Personal Information Bill.

Both the ZMC Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill are before Parliament, while the Protection of Personal Information Bill will be tabled this month, according to IMT Bill Tracker. 

Also under the same cluster, the draft Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill has been developed and stakeholder consultations were undertaken after principles for the Bill were approved in May 2019.

Under the citizenship and movement of people cluster, principles for the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Bill were approved by Cabinet on February 26 2019 and the draft Bill was prepared.

It is now awaiting submission to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation (CCL).

“Principles for the Immigration Amendment Bill were approved by Cabinet on February 5 2019. A draft Bill was prepared and is awaiting submission to the CCL,” reads the Bill Tracker.

Laws awaiting alignment under the security cluster include amending the Official Secrets Act, the Police Act, the Unlawful Organisations Act, the Defence Act, the Emergency Powers Act, the Interception of Communications Act, National Security Council Act and the Prisons Act.

“The Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill repeals and replaces the War Veterans Act and Ex-Political Detainees and Restrictees Act.

“The Bill was approved by Cabinet on September 10 2019 and was gazetted on November 1 2019.

“The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill was assented to on January 5 2018 and is now an Act of Parliament,” according to the last information from the Bill Tracker. 

In addition, six laws will be aligned under the local government cluster to facilitate devolution.

Principles of the Provincial Councils and Administration Bill were approved by Cabinet in November 2018 and the draft Bill has been forwarded to the AG’s Office.

The Bill is now awaiting the outcome of the proposed Constitutional amendments for it to be completed.

According to CALR, 13 laws have now been aligned to the Constitution.

“CALR is providing technical and financial support to the Government for the alignment process.

“The technical support entails: technical legal research to identify gaps in laws that line Ministries administer; legislative drafting – development of draft Bills; stakeholder consultations – technical and grassroots; technical support to the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the Alignment of Legislation to the Constitution (IMT) 

“On the number of laws that have been aligned to the Constitution, there is a difference between alignment, reform and law revision.

“The IMT is concerned with alignment, which means ensuring that existing laws are in conformity to the provisions of the Constitution.

“IMT developed an IMT Bill Tracker which outlines the priority laws that need to be aligned and the stage that these laws are at.

“In terms of the Bill Tracker, 13 laws have been aligned; 50 laws are remaining.” Sunday Mail


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