Mugabe buys time, Takes nation for a roller coaster ride

Charles Mabhena

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is taking the nation for a ride, with his engagement in time buying tactics in order to avoid dealing with critical issues, with the so-called the alignment of laws to the new constitution, which is in fact no a show, says lawyer.

A lawyer who is also one of the most vocal women legislators in parliament, Jessie Majome says the current situation where ZANU PF says it is working to aligning the laws with the new constitution is a lie, as no law can be measured against the national constitution what so ever.

She says what is lacking is its full implementation, as only 20 percent of it is currently being implemented, adds that  when fully implemented the constitution has everything that is needed to govern the nation.

“Our constitution is very smart in that regard, it is the supreme law of the land and no law can be weighed or negotiated against it. Any law that is in contradiction with it is automatically rendered null and void,” she says. She adds that in countries like Kenya the constitution is highly respected and all its provisions are not subject to negotiations, but only to be adhered to, just like the Zimbabwean constitution, as stated in Chapter 1, Section 2.

Chapter 1, Section 2 (1) of the new constitution under the supremacy of constitution reads; “This Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.”

Section 2 (2) reads; “The obligations imposed by this Constitution are binding on every person, natural or juristic, including the State and all executive, legislative and judicial institutions and agencies of government at every level, and must be fulfilled by them.”

As issues of reforms take centre stage, with different political parties and civil organisations calling for the levelling of the playing field before the 2018 national polls, it has come out that a number of the current laws today are in conflict with the supreme law.

Some of the laws that were identified to be inconsistent with the constitution include media laws such as Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which infringes media freedom, Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which was borrowed from the colonial Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA), which infringes people’s freedoms of association, and the current hot topic electoral laws, among others.

The ZANU PF government has been dilly dallying and reluctant with the so called laws alignment with the constitution as doing so would jeopardise their grip on power.

According to prominent lawyer and former cabinet minister who also took part in the crafting of country’s supreme law, Paul Mangwana they identified 484 laws that are direct conflict with the new constitution, which came into effect in 2013.

Mangwana says it is caused by lack of transition mechanism that could have harmonised the laws with the new constitution. He adds that though the state has the moral duty to reform, they need a push to speed it up, because the political will to do so is low, as they want to prolong their enjoyment of power and the attached benefits.