Walter Nyamukondiwa in KADOMA—
The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs should expedite the alignment of laws to the new Constitution to help the country move forward with its economic programmes, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.Addressing the 2016 strategic planning workshop here yesterday, VP Mnangagwa implored the departments of Constitutional Affairs and Legal Drafting to move swiftly as alignment of legislation was urgent and a priority.
“On the realignment of the national Constitution, we have not done so well,” he said. “Yes, the General Laws Amendment Bill has passed the Lower House of Parliament now and has now gone to the Upper House, the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act is still to be tabled for interpretation,” said VP Mnangagwa, who also oversees the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio.
“We need to move. The department of legal drafting and constitutional affairs, you are sitting on your laurels. You should be moving.” VP Mnangagwa said alignment of legislation was one of the key success factors of Zim-Asset that should be performed diligently.
“I make this exhortation fully cognisant that significant progress has been made in respect of the alignment of laws by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Alignment,” VP Mnangagwa said.
VP Mnangagwa said enabling legislation for commissions established in terms of the Constitution such as the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission had been drafted and were at various stages of the lawmaking process. He said recent decisions on various cases by the courts called for quick action on alignment of laws.
“In addition, the recent decisions of the bench challenge us to speedily make requisite changes to certain laws affecting the general citizenry in order to address the inconsistencies and to align such laws to the Constitution,” said VP Mnangagwa.
VP Mnangagwa said decentralisation of the Legal Aid Directorate should be strongly biased towards providing essential services to remote communities. He said Government ministries tasked with improving the ease of doing business should also expedite the process.
VP Mnangagwa commended the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for drafting various State Party Reports in 2015 including reports under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
“It is important for Zimbabwe to remain up to date with its State Party Reporting obligations, hence there is need for the work to continue in 2016 to enable timely submission of reports to the respective Treaty bodies,” he said.
Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire said the ministry should prioritise setting up ICT systems for record management. He said the ministry should come up with strategies to eliminate corruption and miscarriage of justice.
“There is need to come up with tough laws to deal with those causing environmental damage,” said Minister Chidarikire. “They should also come up with strategies to ensure that justice is accessible to everyone in the community.”
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said the strategic planning workshop sought to come up with ways to improve justice delivery.