Drafting workshop for security cluster bills

The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on the Alignment of Legislation to the Constitution (IMT), working with the Ministry of State Security; Ministry of Defence & War Veterans Affairs; Ministry of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs; and the Ministry of Home Affairs & Cultural Heritage held a drafting workshop (writeshop) on the bill to establish an Independent Complaints Mechanism (ICM) and a drafting workshop for the National Security Council Bill.

The drafting workshop was held in Nyanga from the 2nd to the 6th of November 2020 and was supported by the Delegation of the European Union (EU) with technical support from the Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR).

Cabinet approved principles for the ICM Bill and advised that the mechanism should be a stand-alone instrument and will not fall under the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission as previously envisaged. Stakeholders at the drafting workshop pointed out the need to interrogate the term “independence” of the Complains Mechanism Bill. Mention was made of the need for the independence to include autonomy from internal and external influences. The independence was said to need safeguarding from the influence of the state, non-state actors, or any other external forces.

During the write shop, stakeholders also pointed out the requirement to balance national interest and the autonomy of the Independence Complains Mechanism Bill.  Stakeholders further discussed provisions which will give effect to the structure and operational framework of the Independent Complains Mechanism commission.

The IMT writeshop also included the drafting of the National Security Council Bill which makes further provisions for the National Security Council established by section 209 of the Constitution. It also sets a general framework for the operations of the Council.

Stakeholders discussed the composition of the council, operational framework, powers of the council, rules, regulations, confidentiality and annual report. All this will give effect to the National Security Council Act.

Stakeholders continued with a drafting workshop on the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Amendment Bill, starting from where they had left off in Mutare last year (the COVID-19 pandemic hindered the holding of the ZPCS writeshop to conclude the ZPCS Bill). The amendment bill will stipulate the operations and administrations of the prisons and correctional facilities in Zimbabwe. The ZPCS Amendment bill was drafted in line with the Mandela principles, informed by regional and global best standards, and seeks a progressive system based on principles of rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society.

Discussions on this bill centred on how the prison system can cater for children, children born from incarcerated women or women who are incarcerated and have young babies. Stakeholders pointed out for the need for the legislation to ensure that women, men, children, the elderly and young children are separated at the prison facilities.