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delays AG's Office Bill
A TUG-OF-WAR war between the Minister
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa,
and the Attorney General, Cde Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, has delayed the
passing of the Attorney-General’s
Speaking at a no-holds-barred meeting
with Justice Department staff at the Bulawayo Magistrates’ Courts,
Cde Chinamasa said enactment of the AG’s Office Bill was being held
up by a wrangle between himself and Cde Gula-Ndebele over who should
control the AG’s Office.
"I am sure that most of you are aware
of the fact that the delay in the progression of the AG’s Office
Bill is over a tug-of-war between myself and Cde Gula-Ndebele. The
problem centres on who should control the department. This is particularly
a policy issue and we hope we will soon find a solution to it,"
said Cde Chinamasa.
He said the sticking point was where
officers in the AG’s Office should report.
The matter concerning the separation
of AG’s Office staffers from the rest of the ministry had been resolved,
but "the bone of contention is who should have control over that
The AG’s Bill went through its second
reading in Parliament last year, but has been stalled because of
the wrangle between Cdes Chinamasa and Gula-Ndebele.
The AG’s Office Bill seeks to establish
a board to constitute the AG’s Office as an entity outside the Public
Service and provide for the administration of the department and
conditions of service for staff. The minister told the meeting that
the Judicial Services
Bill has gone through all parliamentary stages and was now awaiting
Presidential assent to become law.
The AG’s Office Bill was meant to complement
that law. Cde Chinamasa said his ministry was looking forward to
a situation whereby all workers enjoyed benefits and good working
conditions, resources permitting.
He said to this end, interpreters and
clerks of court would be upgraded.
The ministry, in conjunction with the
Zimbabwe Judicial College, he said, was working towards establishing
a distance learning programme for interpreters.
"One has to go through a six-month
course and once they qualify through that programme, then they can
advance to diploma level.
"It is our hope that once the programme
gets off the ground we will start producing interpreters of high
calibre," said the minister.
Cde Chinamasa said he hoped that staff
at the Zimbabwe Judicial College had started producing modules for
the programme, which will be decentralised to provinces.
"I am reliably informed that names
of those eligible for the programme have already been submitted
and, resources permitting, this programme should roll into gear
next January," said Cde Chinamasa to applause mainly from court
His ministry was also in the process
of mobilising resources to establish a Court Inspectorate whose
duties would be to visit each province to assess the work being
done by officers under the ministry.
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