‘Ignorance stalling alignment of laws’

Lovemore Mataire in Kariba
A legal officer in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday said ignorance by officials in some ministries was stalling the alignment of laws with the new Constitution.

Addressing participants at a two-day workshop on the alignment of the War Veterans Act here, Acting Chief Law Officer in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Netsai Zvakatsikwa urged Government to expedite the alignment process in order to consolidate the gains of the new Constitutional dispensation.

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

“However, due to the challenges of coordination between stakeholders, the department of legislative drafting had not received drafting instructions in the volumes consumerate with the expectations of new constitutional dispensation,” said Mrs Zvakatsikwa.

She said the shortage of legal officers in most ministries was delaying the alignment of laws.

Mrs Zvakatsikwa said some ministries were still to submit their request on alignment to the inter-ministerial team probably due to ignorance of the specific legislation within their ministries needing realignment.

“As a result, and to arrest intimated challenges, Government took the initiative of establishing the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Legislative Alignment comprising of legal advisors and senior state counsels from various ministries,” said Mrs Zvakatsikwa.

She said the alignment faced difficulties in the initial stages because of the absence of a provision in the new Constitution to establish an implementation framework as was the case with the Kenyan constitution.

“There must be an appreciation of the call by the new Constitution to have all the laws of the country aligned to the Constitution. Once we have an appreciation to align all our laws with the new Constitution, we will all actively participate in this worthy cause,” Mrs Zvakatsikwa said.

She said 206 Acts out of 396 Acts still require alignment to the Constitution.

Mrs Zvakatsikwa said the National Prosecuting Authority Act (Chapter 7:20) had addressed 51 Acts and the General Laws Amendment Bill of 2015 has so far addressed 125 Acts with the Public Debt Management Act a dressing two Acts.

“This brings us to a total of 154 Acts which have been aligned.

“Of the total of outstanding 116 Acts, 67 are confined to making appropriate provisions, for the representation of women in statutory bodies.”

The two-day workshop which is being coordinated by the Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees and the Centre for Applied Legal Research is being attended by representatives of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, detainees, restrictees and non-combatants cadres of the liberation struggle.

The workshop will deliberate on the alignment of the War Veterans Act under Chapter 11:15 and the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees, and Restrictees Act under Chapter 17:10.

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