Government legal advisers brought under one roof

The Sunday Mail

Sharon Munjenjema

Government is seized with crafting the Attorney-General’s Office Amendment Bill which seeks to consolidate all advisers of government departments and ministries under the Attorney-General, who is the chief government adviser.

This comes as a measure to harmonise all legal advice given to Government, as part of efforts to align the country’s laws to the Constitution.

The new Act will provide for two deputies of the Attorney-General.

The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi confirmed the crafting of the Bill.

“The new Act will provide for at least two deputies of the Attorney-General, removing any reference to the director of prosecution because we separated the Attorney-General’s office and the National Prosecuting Authority. It makes provisions for law officers to be under the Attorney-General,” he said.

The National Prosecuting Authority came into existence through the 2013 Constitution. Previously, the Attorney-General’s office over saw all prosecutions.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said the Bill also seeks to bring all advisers of Government under one roof.

“Different government departments have legal advisers, however, we need to align the Act with our Constitution which provides that the Attorney-General is the chief Government legal adviser.

“So because of that all legal advisers are now accountable to the Attorney-General. We are currently working on an implementation framework together with the Civil Service Commission.

“We do not want to have a situation like what is currently happening where legal advisers just advise from where ever they are without consulting with the Attorney-General and that has been compromising a lot in terms of giving uniform advice,” she said.

Mrs Mabhiza said no advisers will be recalled. Cabinet recently approved the provisions of the new Bill and it is set to be gazetted soon.

The new Bill will also provide for the establishment of the Attorney-General as the chairman of the Attorney-General’s Office Board.

Currently, the Attorney-General, Advocate Prince Machaya has one deputy, Mr Nelson Dias.