Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWE’s new administration under the leadership of President Mnangagwa has covered much ground in spearheading major economic, social, political and media reforms in its quest to mend international relations and build investor confidence, Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana has said.
He, however, called for speedy alignment of laws with the country’s supreme law to give impetus to the reform agenda.
President Mnangagwa embarked on major reforms aimed at enhancing the country’s electoral processes, upholding human rights, liberalising the media and respecting other freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.
Mr Mangwana said one of the key efforts by the new dispensation had been to address and redress the shortcomings of the previous administration, be it a return to economic fundamentals, turning a new chapter in the political environment in the country and creating platforms for dialogue with previously perceived enemies.
“President Mnangagwa’s term is underpinned by the need to mend fences and build bridges as enunciated in his mantra, ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business and Dialogue’.
“One stumbling block to this new direction has been the unresolved issue of aligning the country’s laws with the Constitution of 2013 . . . ” said Mr Mangwana.
He called for the urgent realignment of the country’s laws with the supreme law of the country.
“It is therefore encouraging that the new dispensation, in particular the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi, has assured the nation that all laws should be fully aligned with the Constitution by the end of 2019.
“The statement is encouraging in that previous efforts to compel such actions went unheeded in the bygone era,” he added.
Mr Mangwana said the process of aligning the country’s laws was cumbersome but the Government was doing remarkably well in churning out reformed legislation.
Meanwhile, a number of Bills have been tabled to give expression to reforms that will see people enjoy more freedoms and rights as well as iron out institutional frameworks necessary to push the economy ahead.
Mr Mangwana said the new dispensation was committed to opening up the media, levelling the playing field and removing laws that had become notorious for denying freedom of information.
“As such, Government has so far gazetted the Freedom of Information and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill.
“Freedom of Information Bill repeals the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Chapter 10:27) and will give effect to Section 62 of the Constitution which enshrines the Declaration of Rights, the right of access to information. The Bill sets out, among others, the procedure for access to information held by public institutions by the citizenry and permanent residents.
“The Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill elaborates on the functioning of the Media Commission as detailed in Section 249 of the Constitution. The Bill extensively amends AIPPA by repealing all provisions relating to the regulation and control of the media,” he said.
Some of the Bills which have been tabled in Parliament to give expression to reforms are the Marriage Bill 2019 which seeks to repeal and replace the current Customary Marriages Act (Chapter 5:07) and the Marriages Act (Chapter 5:11).
Mr Mangwana said Cabinet had approved a proposal by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Sekai Nzenza on principle to amend the Public Service Act in order to align it with the Constitution.
In the area of the justice and law, Mr Mangwana said a major highlight has been that of the repeal of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and its replacement with the Maintenance of Peace and Order whose provisions will be in conformity with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
He added that Cabinet also approved the principles of the Cyber Protection, Data Protection and Electronic Transactions Bill.
Cabinet also approved principles of the Provincial Councils and Administration Amendment Bill which spells out the mechanisms of decentralisation and devolution.
It seeks to compel Central Government to cede more powers to provincial councils for them to set local development priorities.
The International Treaties Bill is also work in progress.
It seeks to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution which direct that any international treaty that has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority, does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament.
The Bill, Mr Mangwana said, will establish a uniform procedure for the consideration and approval of international treaties by the Cabinet and Parliament before their ratification or, in some cases, before their ratification.