Thandeka Moyo Bulawayo Bureau
A senior Government official yesterday said priority is being given to aligning electoral and human rights laws to the Constitution ahead of next year’s polls. Speaking after a constitutional lecture at Ntabazinduna Prisons Training School, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said it was impossible to align all the country’s laws to the Constitution by election time, hence they were prioritising those to do with elections and human rights.
Mrs Mabhiza said aligning laws was a value chain process which required input from other stakeholders outside her ministry.
“The criteria we are using is to look at those laws that infringe on the enjoyment of human rights, especially the Bill of Rights,” she said. “If ever there is anything that is violating any right, we pay attention.
“We also pay attention to issues to do with elections, which are critical, and so far we have done a lot of aligning. I am very grateful on the latest constitutional judgment which is taking a position on some of the issues we were being tasked to align.”
This week, the Constitutional Court said the State was not obliged at law to establish polling stations outside the country and all Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, who decided to live away from home for personal reasons were free to travel back to cast their votes.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba said the right to vote was not absolute and that limitations to the right were justified.
Mrs Mabhiza said Government would make sure that critical provisions in the country’s laws that contravene the constitution were amended.
She said the target was to align all the crucial laws by June next year.
“We continuously develop our laws and pay attention to some of the provisions which we think should also be in line with best practices,” said Mrs Mabhiza. “To say all amendments will be done by election time, it is impossible because as time progresses there are new developments and we try to match with best practices.
“That process in my view may never come to a time when we say we have 100 percent exhausted the amendments. Because we are a democracy, people are also free and may say please strike off this provision or that as we are amending, which also determines the pace.”