IMT “write-shops” Explained
The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on the Alignment of Legislation to the Constitution (IMT) is geared to ensure that all Zimbabwe’s pieces of legislation are in line with the Constitution adopted 8 years ago in 2013.
To facilitate the alignment of laws with the constitution, the IMT holds comprehensive, nation-wide stakeholder consultations which enable contributions from citizens in various societal strata to inform the drafting of Zimbabwe’s laws. These consultations are then followed by technical workshops, referred to as write-shops, where the technical drafting of the laws take place.
What is a write-shop?
A write-shop refers to a platform where administrative ministries, legal experts, technocrats and special interest groups, for a particular area of law or laws, convene and refine a draft model bill and amendment bill before it is submitted to Parliament. It is essentially a drafting workshop that is chaired by the Drafting Division in the Attorney General’s Office with support from the
- Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (MoJLPA)
- Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs department and,
- Department of Policy and Strategic Planning in the MoJLPA.
A write-shop is the final phase in the IMT law-making process that ensures that all recommendations from stakeholders are considered and taken into account before bills are submitted to Parliament.
Why does the IMT hold these write-shops?
A good law is a law which comes from the people, a law where citizens actively participate in its crafting. Therefore, to gather input from a wide and diverse pool the IMT invites Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), independent commissions, government ministries and departments, representatives from Parliamentary portfolio, and interested parties such as United Nations bodies.
IMT-sponsored write-shops in 2020
Due to the global COVID-19 outbreak (from the end of March 2020 up to the 2020 summer season), Zimbabwe underwent several national lockdowns, levels of which were reviewed and upgraded in response to increasing rates of infection.
This hindered the ability of the IMT to organize write-shops as gatherings were initially not permitted and later limited to 30 people. This figure was later increased and, in the run-up to the end of the year, the IMT held a number of write-shops focusing on the security cluster to expedite the alignment of laws to the constitution. The security cluster is essential as it gives impetus to governments reform agenda.
Under the security cluster, the IMT held write-shops on the following:
- The alignment of the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints’ Commission Bill.
- The National Security Council Bill.
- The Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services Amendment Bill – the IMT had previously held a write-shop for this Bill in Mutare in 2019, the drafting workshop for this Bill was completed in 2020.
- The Child Justice Bill and Children Amendment Bill – the drafting workshops for these Bills was supported financially by UNICEF Zimbabwe through the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Fund.