Here Are The Bills That “May” Be Passed Into Law in Zimbabwe, 2023

In Zimbabwe, the process of making laws often appears convoluted to the public. A miniscule portion of the citizenry is actively involved in the law-making process, thereby rendering the arduous, long-winding process of passing laws prone to the whims of the legislative and executive arms of government. Few people are aware of the Bills currently before Parly that await being passed into laws. This article explores the Bills in 2023 may be passed into Zimbabwean law.

Zimbabwe bills, into laws, 2023, Parliament, legal politics news


The law-making process is a protracted process that may extend for two-five years, or even more. For a bill to become law in Zimbabwe, it must go through a rigorous procedures. There are numerous stages to be passed that they cannot be thoroughly exhausted in this article. This attempt is however worth it.

There is an arm of the government called the legislature (the Parliamentary aspect of stuff), and its main purpose is to make laws that “govern” the people; laws designed to fashion the day-to-day personal, institutional, and business/commercial relations of the citizenry.

The legislature consists of Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senators. The National Assembly and the Senate are the two legislative houses in Zimbabwe’s Parliament that are in charge of making laws. These two houses work hand in hand with the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) and the Ministry of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs. It must be noted that once a bill is gazetted, it goes through stages, which include first reading, reference to Parliamentary Legal Committee, second reading, consideration by a special committee, reporting, referral to the PLC, third reading, transmission to the other house, and finally, presidential assent. The bill becomes law after the president's assent.


Below are the bills that could be passed into law, Zimbabwe,2023:


  1. Child Justice Bill

The bill seeks to protect children's rights when they get arrested by the police. It outlines the steps that must be taken from the time a child is arrested to the time he or she is tried in a court of law and finally convicted. In short, the bill provides for circumstances in which children can be detained and to ensure that if detained, they are kept separate from adults.

The bill will be a game changer with regards to the trial procedure for child offenders. From a personal perspective, I still remember when i was in Gwanda and engaged in a lot of pro bono matters involving child offenders. When I visited Gwanda Remand Prison, all the children would be detained in the same cells with the hard-core and older criminals, which is logically inappropriate if regard is to be had for the general welfare of the children. The bill thus seeks to address those challenges. In short, if passed, the law will address the provision of legal representation for child-offenders, establish Child Justice Courts, and propose sentences to be imposed on children and what happens when a child is arrested. It also provides for separate prisons for the detention of child offenders and adult offenders.


  1. Electricity Amendment Bill

This bill seeks to amend Section 60H of the Electricity Act. The bill was motivated by the light sentences that are being imposed on some people who are convicted of crimes under the Act. The bill provides for stiffer penalties for people who are involved in the transportation of materials used in the generation, transmission, distribution, or supply of electricity. It also provides for stiffer penalties on people who connect electricity to their households without the approval of relevant authorities. The law currently provides for a fine as a penalty. A lot of people have been getting away with it. The bill calls for a minimum sentence of ten years in prison.


  1. Health Service Amendment Bill.

The bill has been controversial since the day it was introduced into the public domain. A lot of trade unionists, human rights activists, and health care workers have been advocating against it. The bill establishes a Health Service Commission. This is similar to the Public Service Commission. The Commission will oversee the day-to-day running of the health services in the country. The commission will also be responsible for disciplinary actions against errand workers. Clause 16A of the bill is controversial in that it restricts collective job action. The clause states that no collective job action shall continue for an uninterrupted period of 72 hours. The workers must give notice if they intend to go on strike or protest. The bill has passed both the National Assembly and the Senate, and it was fast tracked. It will most likely become law during the first quarter of 2023.


  1. Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs) Amendment Bill

The bill has passed through the National Assembly and has been sent to the Senate. The main purpose of the bill is to develop policies that combat money laundering. The bill has been criticized by both the opposition and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).The main reason is that it limits the amount of money available to these private organizations.

The Government has suspended the registration of P.V.O and the registration is likely going to commence after the bill has been passed into law. The bill will establish the registrar's office, and there will be a PVO registrar. It also states that PVOs must not undertake political lobbying. The bill makes it a serious offense for PVOs to support or oppose a political party. The bill is being fast-tracked. It may be passed during the first quarter of 2023 and before 2023 elections.

  1. Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill

The bill will amend Section 65 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act (CODE) and provide for a minimum mandatory rape sentence of 15 years. This means that if one is convicted of rape (aggravating circumstances), he will be sentenced to 15 years or more in prison. The other clause will amend Section 155 of the Code and introduce a new definition of ‘dangerous drugs’. Drug dealers have been getting away with crimes under this chapter because the definition of dangerous drugs does not include some of the drugs that are currently on the market. The other clause will amend Section 174 (1) of the principal Act. The crime of criminal abuse of office has a broad meaning, and the bill seeks to limit the crime to include an essential element of knowledge on the part of the public official. This means that the person who gets convicted of this crime must know that his or her conduct is illegal.

The most controversial provisions in this bill were introduced in parliament as the "Patriotic Bill." The clause will insert a new section into the CODE. The section will be 22A. The clause criminalizes undermining the sovereignty, dignity, and independence of Zimbabwe. This bill faced a lot of criticism from human rights activists as well as members of the opposition because they believe that the bill violates an individual’s constitutional right to freedom of speech. The Criminal Law Codification and Reform Amendment Bill was gazetted on the 23rd of December, and it will go through the National Assembly, Senate, PLC, and 1-3 reading, among other stages. It will take some time for it to be passed into law. Looking at the nature of the laws that will be introduced, the legislature may fast-track them.

  1. Finance No. 2 Amendment Act and Appropriation Act 2023.

These acts were passed into law on December 30, 2022. They are commonly referred to as "money bills." They do not go through the rigorous process of law making because of their nature. Stay Tuned and we will discuss about them very soon!

In conclusion, a bill becomes law after the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has assented to it. There are some bills that may never see the light of day. It must be noted that the law making process may take up to 10 years or more. There is a procedure that must be followed in this process. Failure to follow the law-making process will render the law null and void. The most interesting thing about the law making process is that there is a law that dictates how laws are made. Failure to follow that law will make the law invalid. In a nutshell, the law is made by the law.


*Tanaka Dambuza - LLBS Hon (UZ) - is a Legal Practitioner, Conveyancer and a Notary Public who writes here in his personal capacity. He works with Mangwana & Partners, Mutare. /0776912628

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