THE European Union (EU) has expressed concern at the slow pace at which the government is aligning laws to the new constitution, amidst a growing perception that the people responsible “either lack knowledge or interest” in implementing the changes.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Speaking at the launch of a new government website, EU head of delegation, Philippe Van Damme said ministries have not been pushing for the required changes.
After the promulgation of the new constitution in 2013, the government was supposed to align nearly 400 laws to the new charter.
Van Damme said the EU provided financial and technical resources to the government to speed up the alignment process that began in March 2015.
“We have also engaged senior lawyers to provide assistance to the team and try to speed the pace of alignment. The EU calls on the government to speed up the process and reduce the costs of people challenging the constitutionality of laws,” he said.
Van Damme said it was also taking long for the country to implement reforms related to human rights and freedoms, electoral laws and the fragmented approach of tackling the legislation, which had no consistency and coherence among the ministries.
“Constitutionalism is not only about the alignment of the laws to the constitution, but includes implementing the laws in the letter and spirit of the constitution,” he said.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa welcomed the development of the website, saying it would help in making all stakeholders aware of what was happening in Parliament regarding the alignment of laws.
“The website will inform the public by way of scheduling pending stakeholder consultation meetings on laws that are yet to be aligned to the constitution. Effectively, draft bills will be uploaded on the website for the public access,” he said.
The website, http://www.justice.gov.zw/imt/, is expected to be used by the public and other stakeholders to track the progress of bills tabled to realign the laws to the constitution.
The realignment project and the website are being funded by the EU and embassies of Norway and Switzerland to the tune of €2 million.