From Walter Nyamukondiwa in KADOMA
THE lethargy by ministers and permanent secretaries in giving policy input into Bills is causing delays in the alignment of laws with the Constitution, Attorney-General Advocate Prince Machaya said yesterday.Addressing participants at a public engagement meeting with civic society, Adv Machaya said much of the outstanding legislation to be aligned was beyond his office or the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce (IMT) on the alignment of the Constitution.
He said the alignment process was expected to be completed by the end of the 5th Session of the 8th Parliament but delays by some ministries could hinder attainment of the target.
“It has been noted that some ministries have not done work or enough work on some of the bills assigned to their ministers and as the IMT (Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on the alignment of laws to the Constitution), we do not have a real whip to ensure that it’s done,” said Adv Machaya.
He said a high level meeting of permanent secretaries would soon be held to get feedback on what their ministries were doing to ensure the alignment moved forward.
As part of measures to ensure active participation of ministers and their permanent secretaries who reportedly leave the task to officials, the AG said a Control List Bill Tracker which monitors Bills would soon be presented to Cabinet.
“We expect that in the next week or two, we will bring before Cabinet the Control List Bill Tracker where ministers will explain what they are doing to ensure the alignment process moves ahead,” said Adv Machaya.
The AGs office has often taken the blame for delaying the alignment process but Adv Machaya said it was a government-wide responsibility.
“Attainment of the target depends on the work that various ministries will do because the legislation that is left to align mostly involves input on policy matters which are not decided either by the IMT (Inter-ministerial Taskforce) or my office,” said Adv Machaya.
“So the relevant ministries must ensure that they bring forward necessary policy input to move the process forward.”
Alignment of pieces of legislation to the Constitution came into effect in 2013 to ensure that they did not conflict with the supreme law of the land.
He hailed civic society for their active participation in the realignment process before reaffirming government’s commitment to speeding up the process.
Of the 396 Acts, 206 required alignment at the inception of the new Constitution with 51 of them aligned by coming into force of the National Prosecuting Authority Act.
The General Laws Amendment Act that has been passed amends 125 Acts while several other Acts were passed including the Gender Commission Act, Special Economic Zones Act and the Joint Ventures Act, leaving 45 Acts needing alignment.