It's high time laws are realigned

HARARE - A year after last year’s July polls, government has no positive message to communicate to the electorate about why we still hang on to vestiges of a constitution foisted on us decades ago.

Over time, the Lancaster House constitution has been amended on numerous occasions in an attempt to re-engineer it to suit prevailing circumstances when the need arose. A lot of time, money and effort was invested in drafting a new constitution while additional expenses were incurred in conducting a referendum to canvass the acceptance of the document as the supreme law of the land.

Realigning the Acts of Parliament has a direct bearing on what we can identify as a homegrown constitution, crafted by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans unlike an amended Lancaster House constitution that has hung round our necks like an albatross for more than three decades.

What comes as a disappointment to the majority of the public is that bureaucrats charged with realigning the incongruous acts seem to be dragging their feet in seeing through this task.

A fully-blown homegrown constitution embodies our sovereignty which politicians have always harped about as a doctrine Zimbabweans ought to espouse and uphold for them to be recognised as a nation.

After a second attempt to re-script a constitution that Zimbabweans can truly call their own; that is suitable to local conditions as well as how they wish to be governed, it is rather frustrating that bureaucrats still dilly dally and dither about synchronising the endorsed document with the country’s laws.

The withering verdict is that Zimbabwean officials seem reluctant to put into practice what the electorate desires such as  devolving more power to local governments; strengthening the role of Parliament and expand civil liberties among other electorate-friendly provisions.

Acts such as the Electoral Act, Gender Commission Bill, the ambiguous Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and the overly harsh, misinterpreted Public Order and Security Act need immediate re-alignment to restore the electorate’s confidence in the government as well as award Zimbabweans inviolable liberties they deserve.

Just how these bureaucrats are allowed to manacle the re-alignment process breeds suspicion that maybe they harbour nostalgic preference of the old draconian laws which abrogated the electorate's freedoms and liberties. It, therefore, demands immediate interrogation into the competency and commitment of those involved in the ministries to discharge this crucial task.

A two-year time frame to complete the process is somewhat too long. While it was acceptable for donors to fund outreach programmes during the preliminary stages of the constitution-making programme, government should now fully support the re-alignment process financially by setting the process as a major priority ahead of all else. Moreover, government has a known estrangement for development partners, lest they tinge the alignment process with ulterior addendums.

Comments (1)

I am a concerned parent whose child was suspended for having sex in the halls of residents at Africa University. My child was recorded unknowingly by a friend who during hearing admitted to have committed the crime. However, it my child revealed that deans were caught at the University gate doing sex and were not brought before the disciplinary committee. Is it the University policy that staff an do at campus but it is an crime for students? Since, the two caught are deans, How safe are our students? The Vice Chancellor should investigate this and make a public statement?

Anold Chiya - 31 July 2014

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