Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda on Friday breathed fire over the delay in alignment of laws with the new Constitution blasting the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry headed by Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa for not doing enough work to ensure the process is done.
Mudenda was not impressed by a presentation done by an official in the Justice ministry at a consultative meeting on the alignment of laws to the Constitution saying permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza should instead have come to show respect for the important process.
“He (the official) struggled in his presentation. What I expected was which Bills were ready for Parliament.
“We have a backlog of 274 Bills that must come before Parliament. We have three years before 2018 and if you divide that, you realise we have an average of 91 Bills,” Mudenda said while addressing the meeting jointly organised by the Parliamentary legal committee and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
“Parliament means business, but we can’t do business if there is no business before us. Where is our commitment?”
He added: “We are challenged that by now that we received 91 Bills until the next session 91 is the target, tell the permanent secretary. We need 91 here, let’s cut the process by giving us a timeline. This is serious business.”
Mudenda said he expected the permanent secretary to have attended the meeting.
“He (the official) is caring a yoke too heavy for him. What he will present will probably be dismissed because he has no authority. As Speaker, I feel disappointed in terms of representation by the ministry,” he said.
“The Constitution does not set time limits within which the process has to be finaliSed but it is profoundly critical to realign with speed to avoid a possible constitutional crisis emanating from the alignment of laws to the constitution.”
Mudenda said the public would hold Parliament accountable if laws were not aligned expeditiously.
“It is the institution that is mandated with the responsibility of making laws and protecting the constitution,” he said, adding the expectations were that by now various pieces of legislation would have been passed.
Recently ZimRights chairman Passmore Nyakureba said Mnangagwa’s dual roles in the Presidium and as Justice minister was a heavy workload causing unnecessary delays in the re-alignment of the country’s laws to the Constitution.