Government has completed drafting more than 300 Statutes out of the 450 that need to be aligned with the new Constitution, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi has said reports The Herald today (Friday).
The newspapers reports that this is done to avert a constitutional crisis where people might file lawsuits over the use of legislation already overtaken by the statusquo.
Addressing delegates attending a Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe conference dubbed: “Turning the Constitution into a living reality” in Harare on Thursday deputy Minister Chasi said significant ground had been covered to ensure that the laws conformed with the provisions of the new Constitution.
He said the drafted laws would be brought before Parliament. The Herald quotes Chasi saying:
“Regardless of what you hear in the public domain, there is a lot of work that has been done,”
“You will be pleased to know that we have a Statutes book which is in excess of 450 Statutes, but we have worked on over 300 Statutes.
“We will be bringing them to Parliament soon.”
Deputy Minister Chasi described himself as a junior officer in government and as such had no control over some processes required in expediting the re-alignment.
He said he had no control over Cabinet discussions that had an effect on the ultimate re-alignment of the laws.
“There are things that we can control as a Ministry, but I cannot tell Cabinet to sit and consider this,” said Dep Minister Chisi.
“I cannot commandeer those ministers who sit in the legal committee. Some of them are not lawyers. They want to be scrupulous so they take their time.”
Deputy Minister Chasi said the government and the civil society should work together in the alignment of the laws with the new Constitution.
Some of the laws that have been completed included the Electoral Amendment Bill and the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act.
Former Copac chairperson Cde Paul Mangwana said the country blundered by failing to set up a commission to supervise the implementation of the new Constitution.
Mangwana said, the country was at the mercy of the Executive which at times seemed not to be in a hurry to implement the provisions of the new Constitution.
In this regard, Mangwana challenged Parliament to draft Private Members Bills to speedy the re-alignment process.
“The mistake that we made is not to have a commission which ensures that this Constitution is implemented,” he said.
“We are at the mercy of the Executive. We have to wait for them to do their work.”
Mangwana cited the case of in local governance where the responsible minister’s powers were heavily curtailed by the new Constitution.
He said the new Constitution took away a considerable chunk of powers of the Minister of Local Government such as the power to appoint chiefs, power to appoint councillors and powers on provincial councils.
Mangwana said provincial councils were still inactive because there is no a legal framework to effect their operations.