via Laws re-alignment still doubtful: Think-tank – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 21, 2015
GOVERNMENT’s commitment to aligning laws with the Constitution still remains doubtful after President Robert Mugabe announced only 158 statutes out of more than 400 will be aligned with the Constitution through enactment of the General Laws Amendment Bill.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Mugabe claimed alignment of laws with the Constitution was being accelerated when he officially opened the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament last week.
But legal think-tank Veritas, yesterday said the General Laws Amendment Bill would only attempt to align 126 existing Acts with the Constitution, instead of the “over 158”, which Mugabe claimed in his speech.
“This session commences at a time when the alignment of our legislation to the Constitution is being accelerated as required in terms of the provisions of Section 324 of the Constitution,” Mugabe said.
“The General Laws Amendment Bill, which will effect non-consequential changes to over 158 statutes, together with the Gender Commission Bill and the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill, are already under consideration by Parliament,” he said.
The General Laws Amendment Bill is currently in the second reading stage in the National Assembly.
Veritas, the publishers of online journal Constitution Watch, said while most of the amendments of the 126 Acts would bring them in line with the Constitution, there were still some amendments to some Acts which did not deal with alignment.
“Some of the amendments, for example, to the Criminal Law Code and the Trade Marks Act do not deal with alignment, and therefore fall outside the ‘alignment only’ objective. This defect could, perhaps, be cured by a committee stage amendment to the long title.
“It is, therefore, suggested that the amendments not directly related to constitutional alignment, and especially those making far-reaching and complex amendment should have been dealt with in separate Bills — a suggestion it is hoped that the Parliamentary Legal Committee, the Portfolio Committee and the Houses consider when they tackle the Bill,” Veritas said.