The IMT engages with the CSOs on Alignment of legislation to the Constitution

From the 7th to the 8th of November 2017, a number of Civil Society Organisations under the Zimbabwe Civil Society Constitutional Consortium (CSO Consortium), converged in Kadoma at the Kadoma ranch Motel to deliberate on their role and progress in the Constitutional alignment programme which is being spearheaded by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce of the alignment of legislation to the Constitution (IMT). Also in attendance was the guest of honour the Attorney General of Zimbabwe, Advocate Prince Machaya who is the chairperson of the IMT.

In his remarks on behalf of the CSOs, the Director of the Zimbabwe Institute (Mr. Isaac Maposa) indicated that CSOs believed in dialogue and engagement with the government on the issues of alignment of laws and expressed hope that the ongoing engagement on the issue would give birth to tangible results. Mr Maposa indicated that in the event of no movement by the government on laws that require alignment to the Constitution, the CSOs would have no choice but to approach the courts for a determination for the benefit of all Zimbabweans.

In his address to the CSOs, Advocate Machaya emphasised that Parliament has a constitutional role to play in the alignment process and that from the latest engagement he had had with Parliamentarians, they had expressed keen interest in fulfilling that role. He commended CSOs for their continued active role in promoting the alignment programme and in holding the executive to account in this regard.

The Attorney General highlighted that since the last time he had engaged with the CSOs, not many laws had been completely aligned but a lot of work had been done within the project such as the setting up of the IMT website whose Bill tracker is regularly updated to show the status of each law in need of alignment.

The Attorney General indicated also that he had plans to meet the ministries lagging behind in the alignment project in a bid to understand their challenges as well as impress on them, the mandate that befalls them in respect of alignment.

Regarding the Electoral Act, the Attorney General informed CSOs that progress had been made in effecting proposed amendments and that a draft amendment Bill was already at hand which Parliament would be embarking consultations on.

The Attorney General also emphasised to the CSOs that he would be happy to hear from them on the interactions that they have with line ministries regarding legislation which needs to be aligned, including where those engagements are, any problems encountered in pursuing those engagements as well as an indication of what CSOs feel the IMT should do to assist.

Tineyi Mukwewa who spoke on behalf of the CSOs, highlighted that the CSO Consortium was engaged in three advocacy focal areas in respect of the alignment of laws to the Constitution that is; strengthening institutions that protect and promote constitutionalism, monitoring the implementation of the Constitution and test case litigation to promote the alignment of laws to the Constitution.

In his concluding remarks the Attorney General expressed gratitude for the invitation by the CSOs and went on to call for more active interactions and follow up on any issues that CSOs may bring to the IMT. He also advised CSOs not to be afraid to initiate cases on alignment with any competent court where need be, as this is beneficial for all Zimbabweans.