CABINET has announced intentions to amend the Legal Practitioners Act in a bid to insert a clause that will allow the Justice Minister to approve or disapprove external funding for the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ).
Law Society of Zimbabwe was established under the Legal Practitioners Act, to regulate the legal profession.
However, the government is of the view that LSZ, has diverted from its mandate and is now pursuing regime change agenda.
Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi a few months ago registered his displeasure with the LSZ. He even accused some judges of being paid to deliver judgements against the government.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists that the principles to amend the Act have been approved.
‘’Cabinet considered and approved the Principles of the Proposed Amendment to the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07] which was presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi.
Govt moves to block Law Society external funding…picture courtesy of VOA
‘’Cabinet advises that the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07] regulates the legal profession in Zimbabwe. The Act established the Law Society of Zimbabwe, a corporate body that was incorporated in terms of the Law Society of Zimbabwe (Private) Act [Chapter 223 of 1974].
‘’It is highlighted that there are several provisions of the Act that have been identified that need to be amended to ensure a high standard of professional ethics, efficient and economical use of resources as well as transparency and accountability.
‘’The nation is informed that Section 52(o) of the Act will be amended by the insertion of a new section that authorises the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to exercise his discretion to approve or disapprove external funding raised by the Law Society of Zimbabwe to ensure efficient and economical use of resources.
‘’This will ensure good corporate governance principles as entrenched in the Constitution. Furthermore, Section 54(1)(b) is amended so that Ministerial appointments to the Law Society Council are increased from two to four Councillors in the national interest,’’ she said.
Efforts to regulate LSZ funding comes at a time when the government is being accused of closing civic space.
The Zimbabwean government is in the process of crafting the Patriotic Bill and the NGOs Bill targeting human rights defenders.
Coupled with the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill, the legislation will make it hard for CSOs and the media to operate in Zimbabwe. ■