Marriages Act is now law but not yet in force

Marriages Act is now law but not yet in force
Marriages Act is now law but not yet in force

Marriages Act is now law but not yet in force

Parliamentary and legal watchdog, Veritas Zimbabwe has clarified that the Marriages Act which was signed into law by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in May is not yet in force.

According to Veritas, the President is required to fix the date at which the law commences to be active.

However, the Act was gazetted by the government but without the date of commencement.

In its Bill Watch series, Veritas Zimbabwe said the media has been misleading the public about the commencement date of the Act.

‘’Articles in the media, both in print and online, continue to give the misleading impression that this Act came into operation immediately it was gazetted on 27th May 2022 as Act No. 1 of 2022.

‘’The correct position is that the date of commencement of the Act needs to be fixed by the President by notice in the Government Gazette, as we explained in detail in Bill Watch 24/2022 [link].  At the time of writing no such notice had been gazetted,’’ said Veritas.

According to Veritas, the notice notifying the President’s assent to and signature of the Act and its date of publication – does not fix the date of commencement of the Act.  That will be done by a separate notice by the President – usually a statutory instrument – in due course.

The legislature has used the option allowed by section 132 of the Constitution to give the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs time to make the necessary administrative arrangements for the transition to the new law.

Until the President’s notice fixing the date of commencement is gazetted and until the date fixed arrives, none of the provisions of the Act is operative – and that includes the provisions amending other Acts.

This means the wilful transmission of HIV/Aids is still a crime carrying up to 20 years imprisonment in Zimbabwe. Chiefs will have to wait a bit until they become marriage officers, among other things.

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