EU funds constitutional realignment process

Mr Phillipe Van Damme

Mr Phillipe Van Damme

Herald Reporter—
The constitutional realignment exercise, which has been hampered by lack of financial and human resources has received a boost to the tune of $1,28 million following the launch of a support programme by the European Union. Speaking at the launch of the programme in Harare on Thursday, the Head of EU Delegation to Zimbabwe, Mr Phillipe Van Damme, said the funding would be channelled through the Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR), which would provide technical support to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

“With its financial assistance, the European Union aims at enhancing the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to perform its co-ordinating role in the constitutional legislative alignment process and its overarching mandate to implement the constitution,” said Mr Van Damme.

He said the funds were being provided by the European Union in the framework of the recently signed National Indicative Programme under the 11th European Development Fund, which runs from 2014 to 2020.

The new Attorney-General Mr Prince Machaya, who officially launched the programme, said the EU funding would go a long way in speeding up the process of realignment of laws with the new Constitution, which was stalled due to inadequate funding.

“This partnership means a lot to us in that it will enable us to much more and be able to meet our timelines. As you are aware, we have constraints in terms of financial resources, but this partnership will enable us to convene all relevant parties under one roof so that we deal with all areas that need to be realigned,” said Mr Machaya.

He said the participation of the EU in the constitutional alignment process was a positive development that showed that re-engagement efforts by Government with multilateral organisations were bearing fruit.

Centre for Applied Legal Research director Nyasha Chishakwe, said the institution would provide broad technical support for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as part of its efforts to enhance the institutional capacity of the ministry in co-ordinating the constitutional and legislative alignment.

“Our organisation is a community of legal scholars engaged in undertaking legal research and the provision of legal advisory and training services in Zimbabwe and the southern African region,” Mr Chishakwe said.

He said the project to support the constitutional legislative alignment was going to work towards the enhancement of line ministries in reviewing laws, policies and administrative practices for compliance with the constitution.

The Government has initiated the legislative alignment process to ensure the smooth implementation of the new Constitution.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, recently said the enactment of the new Constitution in May 2013 ushered in a number of new obligations on the State.