Misa noted in a statement on Wednesday that despite attempts by Zimbabwe’s Information Minister to distance himself from the fee increases which had already received criticism from the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, the statutory instrument that authorised the increment clearly specified that they had been made by his Ministry.
“The instrument that was published as a supplement to the Zimbabwe Gazette dated 31 December 2010, clearly states that the Ministry “made” the regulations in terms of Section 91 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27],” said Misa.
In his response, Minister Webster Shamu stated that his ministry’s relationship with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) is ‘strictly administrative’ and the statutory media regulatory board “only turns to the Minister and the Ministry for legal administrative instruments that give full effect to its decisions”.
“While Minister Shamu’s statements are legally correct, the wording in the Statutory Instrument 186 of 2010 gazetting the accreditation fees implies that the regulations emanated from his Ministry,” noted Misa.
“Going by the wording of the statutory instrument, the ministry is in violation of the law making the instrument invalid and consequently of no legal force. This is because section 91 of AIPPA, which formerly empowered the Minister to make regulations as stated in the statutory instrument, was amended in 2007 to give the Zimbabwe Media Commission the authority to make such regulations. The Ministry only approves them,” read the statement.
“According to Act No. 20 of 2007 section 91(b) (1), “the Commission may, with the approval of the Minister, by regulation, order or notice, prescribe matters that, by this Act, are required or permitted to be prescribed or that in the opinion of the Commission are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act.”
“It seems there is no other clause under AIPPA implying the contrary, or at the very least, giving the Minister any leeway to act outside the ambit of this administrative role.
“It is therefore MISA-Zimbabwe’s considered view that since the gazetting of the statutory instrument on the new accreditation and registration fees was inconsistent with the enabling legislation, they are void and therefore cannot be legally binding.”