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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 28 MAY 2020 46 41

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 28th May, 2020.

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

LINKING UP OF IPADS

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to remind Hon. Members to link up with Ipads so that you can follow proceedings properly.  You have been given the link code so let us utilise the gadgets accordingly.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  Today, Mr. Speaker Sir, is the menstrual hygiene day and with me here are re-usable pads that Members of Parliament can get manufactured in their constituencies for the girl child.  This year’s theme is ‘periods in pandemics’.  Each day an estimated 300 million people menstruate around the world and being able to access sanitary products, safe and hygiene spaces in which to use them and the right to manage their periods without shame is essential.

Mr. Speaker Sir, what I would like to draw to you as our leader; by leading by example is that I will also give you one of these and it says, promote education for boys, men and mothers, teachers, health workers and other professionals so that they can help break the negative social norms and provide accurate information and support.  We must break that and we break that by you as our leader being in the forefront of it so that there is no stigmatization and negative connotations which are extended to the girl child.  The girl child is important in that when their self-esteem is together, they are confident and able to take us to another level.  We always say, “musha mukadzi

but zvinotangira vachiri vadiki tichivakudza” and so forth.

With that, I really would like to say to Members of Parliament here that we are together in this.  I was in the constituency where I met teachers and headmasters to talk about this. In Norton, we are actually starting to make these from tomorrow.  We have received ten sewing machines, hand used and we have picked people disabled and the vulnerable to be part of this so that employment can also be created also looking at those who did well in fashion and fabrics who do not have a job.  We can actually do so much for our communities and with the Community Development Fund that we get, I implore Members of Parliament to spend some of the money to buy sewing machines so that our communities can be seen to be worthy because we are supporting the girl child.  I have got five of these and I would like you to have one and the Leader of Government business to have another so that Government takes seriously this initiative.  We moved the issue of sanitary wear; I remember Hon. Majome and Hon.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga and yes it was extended, the Minister of

Finance said they were now duty free.  However, that is not enough Sir, this is not an option.   If you go to our toilets as the men, the condoms are easily available for free.  Sanitary wear should also be equally available for free because this is not their choice; this is how God made them at the end of the day.  So may we, as a nation implore that these be available for the girl child and they are for free.  There is no need for them to pay for this.  I thank you – [HON. MLISWA:

Shall I extend these to you?]-

Hon. T. Mliswa extended to the Hon. Speaker, the Leader of the Government Business and the Clerk of Parliament samples of the reusable sanitary wear.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I want to applaud Hon. Mliswa for the

initiative and the point of privilege.  I am sure he has challenged all of us in our various stations to ensure that in a small way, we contribute towards this important necessity in the health of our girl child.  I would also go further - it is not only the girl child. Out there in the rural areas in particular, generally, women have no access to this facility.  So you need to go beyond the girl child.  Some of the stories we hear are very devastating in terms of how the womenfolk who are in that situation take care of themselves.  It is sometimes very pathetic.  Let us extend it to the womenfolk who go through that cycle, and let us be seen to be active accordingly.

I hope that when we meet next week, some people will be

telling us that they have started the initiative similar to that taken by Hon. Mliswa.  It is very important also to educate the public about the issue, do not make it a private affair - speak about it at your public meeting when you meet the electorate so that you raise the awareness of the necessity for this hygienic need among our womenfolk.

It would also be very important to engage the private sector to come on board so that together, we can achieve greater success in the campaign for the womenfolk, particularly the girl child.

HON. MUNETSI: I have risen to say  each time when we come to Parliament, it has always been a nightmare for Members of

Parliament on where to access fuel when they want to go back home.

I have risen to thank Hon. Shamu for providing fuel to most of the Hon. Members in this august House –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Now, is it not possible, with your indulgence Mr. Speaker, that the Hon. Member be provided with more funding so that he can access more fuel and keep fuel for the Parliamentarians whenever there is need?  I thank.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I think that is one of the few relevant points of privilege.  The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders resolved that we designate some fuel stations; including the one run by Hon. Shamu as well as Petroltrade and CMED, in addition to PUMA and Redan Service Stations.  Engagement has taken place with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to effect that arrangement so that the Hon. Members are not unduly disadvantaged in terms of accessing fuel.  I thank you.

HON. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Mine is a point

of privilege relating to the Mace, the stick which the Serjeant –at- Arms holds when he walks in. Whenever you walk in here, we all rise in respect of Mr. Speaker’s office. In front to alert us to stand is the Serjeant at Arms and he will be holding the Mace whose head signifies the Queen.  It is now 40 years after independence - to me it will look like we are respecting the Queen and we stand up in respect of the Queen represented herein by Mr. Speaker.

Now that we intend to move to the new Parliament Building, is it not possible that we remove that head and the Treasury provides funds so that we have something that resembles our flag and our coat of arms.  I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Interestingly enough we have all unwittingly proceeded in the procession the way we have done for the past 40 years. We commend you for rising up to the occasion in observation, which is quite pertinent.

May I inform you that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has assigned the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Heritage which is led by none other than our Government Chief Whip, Hon. Togarepi and he is working with his team on the design and other artifacts that need to decorate our Parliament and cut therefore the umbilical cord from the colonial era.

His committee has gone further to say that the dress code of the Presiding Officers and their assistants will also need to be redesigned in order to reflect our national identity. It is work in progress and I am sure this should be attained before the end of this year and before we move to the new Parliament in March next year. Further than that, his committee is working with other key stakeholders in the design of the national dress both for men and women and that is on course as well. We are hoping that there should be some new complexion in terms of attire that will be relevant to our national identity.

We thank you for that but I want to register that your observation is indeed welcome and it is a matter that Hon. Togarepi and his team are dealing with.

+HON. MABOYI: I rise on a matter of privilege relating to what was discussed yesterday with regards to people who tested positive to Covid-19. I am bitter about what is happening currently considering the fact that Covid-19 is spreading so widely in our country. I have gathered that people who have tested positive using these machines that determine whether someone is ill or not is only being done to those in quarantine centres.

My issue relates to those people at the borders like Chiredzi, Beitbridge, Mutare, Plumtree and Victoria Falls. This virus is in the country and it is true. It is spread by people who are coming in illegally and I will focus mainly on my areas which are

Chikwalakwala, Beitbridge and Shashi. There are so many people who have come into the country through illegal means. I have been to these places teaching people about Coronavirus. I was driving from Beitbridge to Shashi and on my way to these places, I met 20 boys and men who were seated just after crossing the river. They tried to run away when they saw the car. I called them and they came closer to my car. I talked to them explaining about this disease.

Is it not possible to try and rectify this issue as a country? We should go to the rural areas and talk to people because indeed this virus is now spreading widely in this country. What we are doing appears not to be enough. We need to really look into this issue because we are likely going to get a bombshell especially when this Coronavirus gets to our rural areas. I thank you.

+THE HON. SPEAKER: I thank you Hon. Member. I am

looking forward to us making sure that if we get enough funds we can try and make sure that those who are responsible for the security of our country, especially the police and the army do what is being done in neighbouring South Africa, to make sure that they monitor all the borders although they may not be 100% in doing their duty. There is likely going to be a reduction in those people walking into the country illegally so that the number of those people who are found to be positive with Covid-19 is reduced.

Your message is very important because the number of those people who are found to be Covid-19 positive is from those people who are coming in from our neighbouring countries like Botswana and South Africa. I hope the Minister responsible for health will make sure that they take into consideration these measures that we are putting across.

I realise that the Leader of the House is making a discussion with Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga. I guess he is trying to get further explanation as to what was said. The number of those who have been quarantined coming from outside the country have increased the numbers of those who are infected by Coronavirus.  I was saying in Ndebele that it will be necessary for Government to consider, inspite of the limited resources, to deploy our security forces along the borders to reduce the number of those that illegally cross back into Zimbabwe thereby bringing in possibilities of Coronavirus and thereby increasing the numbers of those that are infected as has been demonstrated in the past three days – that was the message. We hope and trust that you will take the matter up with Government.

HON. NDIWENI:  I rise on a point of privilege.  We applaud the move taken by this Parliament to move with the provisions of deterring the Covid-19 pandemic and you have moved this Parliament to go virtual in some instances but our worry and challenge that we are facing is the server that is used – whether it is the size of the

server or bandwidth which is being used, we are having challenges in logging on to this server.  I wish it could be looked into and then the server is improved.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I do not know whether this has come as an inspiration for the Government Chief Whip.  The points of privileges are so pertinent that I did not have to turn someone down because of misdirected point of privilege.  Please keep it up.

As far as your observation is concerned, I have just discussed with the Director responsible for ICT and by next week, there should be some improvement.  I have indicated that we may need to use these screens so that there is double vision in terms of following what is happening in the House.  The Clerk of Parliament is seized with the matter.  What remains now is the implementation.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of recommendation, we did not see the Minister or the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.  Can we have a ministerial statement next week from the Department of Health and also to talk about the inflated prices of masks and kits?

This is an issue which has been in the public domain in that they have inflated a mask.  A kit which was US$35 has gone up to US$90 and apparently, Treasury has paid that amount of money.   We would also want to understand on the number of kits that we have in the country which were donated and how they were disbursed; what figure are they allowing the suppliers to charge for them to be able to pay.  We need to understand that so that we are in the picture.  This is a very important issue.  It seems to have opened a can of corrupt activities as well.

We would also want to know how much civil servants who are in all these centres are paid per day because there are some who are said to be manning some quarantine centres and the funds are not getting there.  There is also some abuse of funds.

We would like to know of the money allocated for Covid-19, how much has gone to each and every sector that they are working with.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Leader of the House, you will advise the question of availability, pricing structure – some suppliers are charging in US$; very astronomical prices and the question of our preparedness as Hon. Mliswa has indicated in the fight against the Coronavirus - if that statement can be made as early as possible next week when the House resumes sitting.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that

Orders of Day Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until Order Number 4 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT BILL [H.  B. 11, 2019] Fourth Order read: Second Reading: Constitutional Court Bill

[H. B. 11, 2019].

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. Speaker

Sir, I rise to present the Constitutional Court Amendment Bill.  This is a long overdue piece of legislation whose delay can be explained by the need for extensive consultation with stakeholders and most importantly with the judiciary itself who have expressed themselves to be satisfied with the end product before you.  Additional considerations lend urgency to this Bill as I will explain below.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members are aware that the

Constitutional Amendment Number 20 Act which gave birth to the present Constitution was ascended to by the President and promulgated on the 22nd of May 2013.  On the same day, the

Constitutional Court came into being.  Under the terms of the Sixth Schedule to the new Constitution, this court has the same composition as the Supreme Court for a period of seven years ending on the 22nd of

May 2020 at which date the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court must become separate courts.

As this date has already passed, vacancies in the High Court caused by the elevation of Judges of the Supreme Court, vacancies in the Constitutional Court caused by the elevation of judges of the

Supreme Court are being filled on an acting capacity on the basis in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution as read with paragraph 18 (3) of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.  Up to this date, the

Constitutional Court has been able to operate smoothly in its Constitutional Court capacity and as the Supreme Court.

In 2016, separate rules for the Constitutional Court were published in Statutory Instrument 61 of 2016 enacted by virtue of paragraph 18 (4) (a) of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

However with the split of the Supreme Court from the Constitutional Court, the need for a separate Constitutional Court Act has become ever more salient and pertinent.  The memorandum to the Bill hopefully has set forth all the most conspicuous features of the proposed legislation and I will not rehearse them for you except to draw your attention to two clauses of the Bill in particular.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Clause 22 of the Bill carries over into this Bill the provisions of Section 24 subsection 5 and 6 of the previous Constitution relating to the invalidation of a law.  As Hon. Members will know, only the Constitutional Court may make a final decision whether an Act of Parliament is constitutional and must confirm any order of constitutional invalidity made by another court before that order has any force.  I will refer you to Section 167 (3) of the Constitution.

Mr. Speaker Sir, litigants in the recent past have on several occasions approached the Constitutional Court to invalidate this or that law as being unconstitutional without giving the AttorneyGeneral adequate notice of such proceedings.  The Attorney-General being responsible among other things for the drafting of legislation is a vitally interested party whenever it is sort to show that a law was improperly or invalidly enacted for any reason.  Clause 22 makes it clear that the Attorney-General has an automatic right to be heard by the court on that issue.

The next clause, Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to advert to is Clause 23 of the Bill.  This clause embodies two important principles of constitutional avoidance and of subsidiarity recently adopted by our Constitutional Court.  These, Mr. Speaker Sir, are salutary principles of judicial restraint that the court exercises whenever it determines constitutional applicants seeking remedies from it that are also availed by statute.  They are salutary because consistently with the doctrine of separation of powers, they give due respect to Parliament’s statutory remedies for civil wrongs if these are seen to be adequate to the case before the Constitutional Court.

Firstly, the principle of avoidance states that remedies should be found in legislation before resorting to constitutional remedies.  Secondly, the principle of subsidiarity states that norms of greater specificity should be relied on before resorting to norms of greater abstraction.  Hon. Speaker Sir, this is per Malaba DCJ as he was known then in the case of Zinyemba vs Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement and Yakub Mahomed in the Constitutional Court case number 3 of 2016.  The Principle of Avoidance is in effect a restatement of the following proviso to Section 24 (4) of the old Constitution and I quote:-

‘The Supreme Court may decline to exercise its powers of intervention under this subsection if it is satisfied that adequate means of redress for the contravention alleged are or have been availed to the person concerned under other provisions of this Constitution or under any other law.’

In conclusion Mr. Speaker Sir, I urge Hon, Members to pass this law and in doing so raise another important milestone in the ongoing process of the alignment of our laws to the Constitution.  I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir and move that the Bill be read a second time.  I thank you.

Maybe on a point of procedure Hon. Speaker, I am advised by the Chair of the Committee of Justice that his report is not yet ready.  So with your indulgence, I move that we adjourn debate so that we can avail them an opportunity to present first before the Hon.

Members have presented.  I submit Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Chair of that Committee should have approached this Chair on time so that I would have been guided accordingly.

HON. MATARANYIKA:  Point noted Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I was waiting for that.

HON. MATARANYIKA:  Thank you. I could see that.

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  On why we are adjourning?

HON. T. MLISWA:  No, on this system of the Chairman then saying I will come back to you and so forth.  I want to give examples of this happening many times and we never see the thing getting any light of day.  It seems to be a habit.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Can you start from the beginning?

HON. T. MLISWA:  I am a bit worried that the Committee on Justice has a lot of outstanding issues.  A good example is SI 62 which was on the land issue and it was controversial and the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said that there is that provision which we know that each SI which is passed, if it is not in line with our mandate to represent people should be interrogated.

You agree, Mr. Speaker Sir, there are too many SIs which really have come out and we as Parliament have been quiet about these SIs which have really hindered the welfare of the people.  So my question is with this again, they seem to be overwhelmed with a lot of SIs which they are saying they will look into and see if there is anything wrong and so forth.  It must be a worrying concern for anybody living in this country, that the number of Statutory Instruments (S.Is) this Government has passed this year is unbelievable and we cannot continue like that.  What is the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs doing about interrogating them because the Ministers have continued to pass SI’s without any interrogation, it is the order of the day. With the rules that we all live by Mr. Speaker Sir, is it possible for the Committee of Justice and Legal Affairs to also interrogate SI’s which come through and also fulfill some of the SI’s that have sailed.

By now, they have been overtaken by events.

So the issue of SI’s is something that they are overwhelmed with because they are moving faster than even Hussein Bolt himself.  It is important that we also interrogate for the better governance of this country because a country cannot be run by SI’s, there must be something wrong.  What is the Portfolio on Justice and Legal Affair doing to interrogate those?

THE HON. SPEAKER: If you read the Standing Orders very carefully, SI’s and Bills fall immediately under the purview of the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  Last week, or the last time we sat, it was reported in this House that all SI’s that had been passed in the months of March and April did not violate the Constitution.  If Hon. Mliswa could revert to the Hansard, you will find that out.  As for the controversial SI 61, you wanted a comment on that.

HON. MATARANYIKA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker

Sir.  I wanted to bring to the attention of the House that the Hon. Member is mixing the role of Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) and the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.  I am the Chairman of the Justice Committee and not of the PLC.  So SI’s, including the SI 61 that he is referring to, which had a clause on the repossession of land - was referred to the PLC and not to the Justice Committee.  I so happen to be also a Member of the PLC. With the indulgence of the Chairman, I will comment that we had an opportunity to look at all the SI’s for the two months of March and April, including the one he is referring to.  Like you said Mr. Speaker Sir, we did not see any unconstitutionality in the SI.  Thank you very much.

HON. T. MLISWA: Are they not supposed to report to this

House, I just want to know?

THE HON. SPEAKER: They did Hon. Mliswa.

HON. T. MLISWA: They did?

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes.  That is why I said check your

Hansard.

HON. T. MLISWA: Sorry, I will check it then.  Thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday: 2nd June, 2020.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, I

move that we revert back to Order Number 1 on the Order Paper.

Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

MARRIAGES BILL [H. B. 7, 2019]

First Order read: Committee Stage: Marriages Bill [H. B. 7,

2019].

House in Committee.

Clauses 21 to 39 put and agreed to.

On Clause 40:

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you

Hon. Chair, after much debate and much consideration, I move the amendment standing in my name as it appears in the Order Paper of today that on page 15 of the Bill, delete sub-clause (5) on lines 30 and 31 and substitute the following subclauses:

“(5) A civil partnership exists-

  • where both of the partners are not married, civilly or customarily, to anyone else; or
  • where both of the partners were not married, civilly or customarily, to anyone else; and subsequently either of them marry someone else, civilly or customarily, in which event only those assets acquired by them before the marriage to the other person (or the first of the marriages, as the case may be) shall be capable of being divided, apportioned or distributed by the court on dissolution of the partnership.

Provided that if their partnership still subsists after the marriage of one or both of them to the persons, those assets acquired by them jointly after the marriage to the other person (or the first of the marriages, as the case may be) shall be divided, apportioned or distributed in accordance with subsection (6);

  • where one of the partners is married civilly to someone else and also married customarily to the other partner, in which event-

(i) subsection (6) applies to the division, apportionment or distribution of the assets in contention; and

(ii)the civil partners shall be deemed to be in an unregistered customary law marriage despite the fact that it was not registered timeously in accordance with Section 16 (1) and that the marriage consideration was not paid or fully paid at the time of dissolution; and

(iii)  it is here provided that, by virtue of the partners dissolving their civil partnership, neither of them shall be deemed to be guilty of bigamy under Section 104 of the Criminal Law Code.

(6) where one of the persons in a civil partnership is legally married to someone else in a marriage that it is not an unregistered customary law marriage (this person being hereinafter called the

“civil married partner”), no part of the assets the civilly married partner shall be capable of being divided, apportioned or distributed with the civil partner except those that the civil partner proves- (a)  where purchased or acquired using her own resources;

(b)  were purchased or acquired using the resources of the civilly married partner that-

  • constitute the income of the civilly married partner as an employee; or
  • constitute the income of the civilly married partner from the business of the civilly married partner-
    1. in which the spouse of the civilly married partner had no legally verifiable stake in the form of shares or a partnership interest in the business; or
    2. in which the partner of the civilly married partner had a legally verifiable stake in the form of shares or a partnership interest in the business;
  • constitute the income of the civilly married partner from the investments or the civilly married partner that were made using income referred to subparagraphs (i) and (ii);

(c)  were purchased or acquired jointly using her own resources and that the resources of the civilly married partner referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b).”

Hon. Chair, what we have tried to do is to ensure that those that are married, we have removed them and this is what has caused so much debate surrounding this Clause.  This is the proposal that I am proposing so that we protect the rights of those that are in partnership but are not married.

Amendment to Clause 40 put and agreed to.

Clause 40, as amended, put and agreed to.

Clauses 41 to 53 put and agreed to.

THE CHAIRPERSON:  May I remind Hon. Members that

there was an additional Clause, that was Clause 10 of the Bill.  What it now means is that instead of having 53 Clauses we now have 54 Clauses.

House resumed.

Bill reported with Amendments.

Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam

Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 7 has been disposed of. 

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE AMENDMENT BILL [H. B.

14, 2019]

 Seventh Order read: Attorney General’s Office Amendment Bill [H. B. 14, 2019]. 

         THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you

Madam Speaker. I rise to give my Second Reading speech for the

Attorney General’s Office Amendment Bill. The Attorney-General’s

Office Amendment Bill is an amendment of a law passed by

Parliament in 2011, namely the Attorney General’s Office [Chapter 7:19]. It contains a commencement clause which has not yet been activated.

Before the Act could be brought into effect, discussions had already begun on the writing of a new Constitution, under which it was proposed that the Attorney General should no longer be the head of the prosecution arm of the Office. This arm was proposed to be spun off to a new independent entity called the National Prosecuting Authority. The new Constitution provided accordingly when it was brought into force in 2013. The following year, Parliament enacted the National Prosecuting Authority [Chapter 7:20]. This left the

Attorney General responsible for the divisions of Advice and

International Law, Legislative Drafting and the Civil Division.  

         Now the same considerations that motivated the spinning off of the prosecution arm apply with equal force to the remainder of the

Attorney-General’s Office, namely the appearance and reality of impartiality in the discharge of its functions, and the need to retain and hire staff of a calibre adequate to the discharge of those functions.

The Attorney-General’s Office, let me remind you, assists the Attorney General to discharge his onerous constitutional duties, among the most important of which is to “promote, protect and uphold the rule of law and to defend the public interest” (Section 114

(4) (d) of the Constitution).   

         These arguments for the separation of Attorney General’s Office from the Civil Service were adequately canvassed back in 2011 when the principal Act was passed and I will not go over them again. The main objects of the present Bill are threefold.

Firstly, the Bill will enable the Attorney General to be assisted by Deputy Attorney-Generals. Originally from 2007, each head of division within his office was a Deputy AG and there were four of them responsible for prosecution, the civil division, drafting and legal advice.  This number was reduced by redeployment of the original Deputy Attorney-Generals down to one only, whose post is in existence by virtue of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. There is need therefore, to formalise the appointment of additional Deputy Attorney-Generals by Act of Parliament.

Secondly, it is intended that all legal officers employed in the

Civil Service should come under the single roof of the Attorney General’s Office with the Attorney-General as their head. Presently, public legal officers are appointed on a piecemeal basis to the

Attorney General’s Office and to the several ministries of Government. Since the Attorney General is the top legal officer anyway, all those employed outside his office must refer their legal opinion to him. This Bill formalises the fact that every legal public officer is answerable to the Attorney General for his/her work and therefore must be subject to his discipline and not that of the Ministry in which they were formally employed. The only exception is where a legal officer is employed under the discipline of a uniformed or security service. These latter officers will not form part of the professional staff of the Attorney General’s Office because they belong to a separate chain of command.

Finally, this Bill puts into words what has been recognised in practice before, namely that the opinions of the Attorney General on a question of law are binding on the Executive unless overturned by a court of law.  Accordingly, the opinions of individual legal officers in the Government must be in conformity with that of the Attorney General on the same matter since the Attorney General is the principal legal officer of the Government. This applies also to the opinions of the legal officers employed in and under the discipline of a uniformed or security service.  However, the opinions of the Attorney General are not binding on autonomous statutory bodies that employ the services of a private legal practitioner.  Autonomous statutory bodies, let me remind you, are deemed to be separate from the State and may be sued in their own right.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, in conclusion, I urge Hon. Members to pass this law and in doing so, raise another important milestone in the ongoing process of the alignment of our laws to the Constitution.  I thank you Madam Speaker and I now move that this Bill be read a second time.

HON. DR. MATARANYIKA:  Thank you very much Madam

Speaker Ma’am.  Due to the COVID lockdown, the Committee could

not undertake the necessary public hearings, so my report on the Bill is not yet ready.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Madam

Speaker Ma’am, with the indulgence of the House, I move that we adjourn debate on the Second Reading of the Attorney General’s Bill.

I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL

AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the

House adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020.   

 

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