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Why Zimbabwe should align laws with the Constitution

Zimbabwe’s Parliament must put pressure on the government to align its laws with the constitution because the constitution took years of resources and manpower in its making.

Besides, “If is not properly and timeously implemented all this effort will have been not only a waste of time but a deception and fraud perpetrated on the people of Zimbabwe and the international community”, a parliamentary watchdog organisation Veritas says..

“It must be recognised by all that the Constitution is the supreme law and overrides all other laws, and alignment is part of the process to see that the Constitution is implemented,” it says.

“Our laws are valid only to the extent that they comply with the Constitution.  No matter how laborious the alignment process, the government must expedite it, and Parliament should pressure it to do so.”

Below is the full analysis by Veritas and a list of the unaligned laws and the laws that need to be enacted.

Must Laws be aligned to the Constitution?  The answer is both “Yes” and “No”.  We shall first look at why we say No, under the heading the Supremacy of the Constitution.  We shall then examine the arguments for saying “Yes they do have to be aligned”.

Supremacy of the Constitution

The reason why laws do not necessarily have to be aligned with the Constitution is that the Constitution is the supreme law.  Any statute or part of a statute [whether it is old or new] that is inconsistent with the Constitution is void and has no legal effect.  In other words it is not a law.

This is expressed in section 2(1) of the Constitution:

“This Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law … inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.”

The section could hardly be clearer.

Existing laws

The Constitution, while nullifying laws or parts of laws that are inconsistent with it, does preserve pre-existing laws [i.e. laws that were in force before the Constitution came into operation in 2013] but only to the extent that they are consistent with the Constitution.  This is stated in paragraph 10 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, which reads as follows:

“… all existing laws continue in force but must be construed in conformity with this Constitution.”

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