THE permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal Parliamentary Affairs, Virginia Mabhiza, yesterday accused line ministries of delaying realignment of laws with the new Constitution by taking long to forward laws that inhibited the smooth flow of their operations.
Mabhiza told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that about 204 statutes would be amended through the General Laws Amendment Bill to reflect the new constitutional dispensation while other laws were supposed to be brought for amendment as completely new pieces of legislation.
“Due to reasons beyond our control, the department of legal drafting has not been receiving much from other ministries in terms of amendment of laws that need realignment with the new Constitution,” said Mabhiza.
“It is not the responsibility of the Justice Ministry to see that we successfully align laws, and we need co-operation of other ministries to complete this task and maybe Parliament should interrogate other ministries to ensure they bring the laws for re-alignment as we cannot dictate policies to other ministries,” she said.
Mabhiza said laws that needed urgent realignment included the Electoral Amendment Bill which has since been signed into law by President Robert Mugabe, the General Laws Amendment Bill which will effect non-consequential changes to other laws, the Gender Commission Bill, the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, the Land Commission Bill, and the National Prosecution Authority Bill which was also passed.
“The Law Development Commission has also identified 125 Acts which provide for appointment of boards to ensure such boards are intra vires the Constitution and take into cognisance the gender balance. Alignment is a mammoth task and is not an overnight thing as it requires consultation of all stakeholders in terms of policy formulation to avoid a situation where Parliament will be inundated with petitions of citizens saying they were denied their rights of sufficient consultations,” Mabhiza said.
She also said there was no time frame as to when realignment should be done, adding that her ministry’s operations were being affected by lack of funding.