Legislation Tracker

This Legislative Tracker is a product of Nhimbe Trust's research on leverage rights to artistic freedom in Zimbabwe. It outlines legislation that has a bearing on the promotion and protection of cultural rights in Zimbabwe. It tracks the progress of the Government of Zimbabwe in aligning this legislation to the 2013 Constitution (Amendment no. 20). An inter-ministerial taskforce was set up by the Government of Zimbabwe in 2015 to align the country's legislation.

In addition to this tracker, Nhimbe Trust is part of the CSO Constitutional Consortium that conducts legislative analysis and makes recommendations on legislative amendments to the inter-ministerial taskforce.


Drafting Principles Approved 40%
Bill Approved 60%
Bill Published 80%
Bill Signed into Law 100%
Freedom of Information Act The Act repeals the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27]. The Bill gives effect to section 62 of the Zimbabwe Constitution which enshrines in the Declaration of Rights the right of access to information.

The Act aligns itself to the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. However, like all laws in Zimbabwe they exist so long as they do not impede the political dynamics of the country. Those in power only maintain the law so far as it serves them.

Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill This Bill makes additional provisions with regard to the Zimbabwe Media Commission which is established in section 249 of the Constitution with the objective to protect the rights to the freedom of expression and the freedom of the media granted by section 61 of the Constitution.

The Acts section 2 provides a wide definition of media which includes the dissemination of information through the internet and any other electronic means.

With regards to the investigation of complaints, Section 8 of the Act allows the Commission to mero motu institute an investigation into violations of rights. From the face of it, this seems like a good provision as each and every media violation should be addressed. However, there is actually a danger that the possibilities of abuse of the Commission will be increased.

Broadcasting Service Bill An Bill to provide for the functions, powers and duties of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe; to provide for the constitution of the Authority; to provide for the planning, management, allocation, regulation and protection of the broadcasting frequency spectrum and the regulation and licensing of broadcasting services and systems.

The Bill does not present any language on private broadcasting media. This there is insufficient independents and separation between the State Broadcaster and Board

Censorship and Entertainments Control Act AN ACT to regulate and control the public exhibition of films, the importation, production, dissemination and possession of undesirable or prohibited video and film material, publications, pictures, statues and records and the giving of public entertainments; to regulate theatres and like places of public entertainment in the interests of safety; and to provide for matters incidental to the foregoing.

The language of the legislation is vague on defining what can and should be censored it provides the Board a broad range of powers in terms of definition. Which places it in contradiction to Freedom of Speech and Expression & Freedom of Information Act

Protection of Personal Information Bill The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27]: will be repealed and replaced by the Protection of Personal Information Bill as part of measures to protect citizens personal information in cyber space.

In the digital age where personal information is becoming commercialised the Bill (not yet passed) has no language on protecting Zimbabwean citizens and permanent residence personal information from non-Zimbabwe private entities.

Official Secrets Bill The Bill is designed to protect State secrets from disclosure to enemies and hostile organisations.

The Bills amendments are still in the research
stage and it is too early to provide an assessment

Unlawful Organizations Amendment Bill The Bill aims to make provision, in the interest of defence, public safety or public order , for certain organizations to be to be unlawful organizations and for the circumstances in which organizations may be declared to be unlawful organizations.

The current (not amended) Bill provides the
president extensive powers to define what an organisation is and if it threatens the nation.

Maintenance of Peace and Order Act An Act to make provision for the maintenance of peace, order and security in Zimbabwe; to repeal the Public Order and Security Act [Chapter 11:17].

The Act was meant to repeal and replace the former Public Order and Security Act (POSA). As with most provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act the interpretation of section 2 rehashes that of POSA. It reconstitutes the conflation of public demonstrations and public meetings under the moniker of public gatherings.

Private Voluntary Organizations Act AN ACT to provide for the registration of private voluntary organizations, for the control of the collection of contributions for the objects of such organizations and of certain institutions, and for matters incidental thereto.

It infringes on the rights provided for in section 58
of the Constitution i.e. freedoms of association, movement. This may make the Bill unconstitutional.
It allocates too much power to the Minister, who in the end is also just a political actor.
Creates a cumbersome regulatory process for applications

International treaties Bill This Bill will establish a uniform procedure for the consideration and approval international treaties by the Cabinet and Parliament before their ratification by the President and for their publication after their ratification or, in some cases, before their ratification.

The Act does not lay down time frames for treaties
to be integrated with domestic law.

Emergency Powers Bill The Bill is meant to define the authority of the executive to utilise emergency powers and impose martial law when in a state of emergency.

The Bill is in the research stage. It is too early to
make an assessment.

Data Protection Act The purpose of this Act is to consolidate cyber related offences and provide for data protection with due regard to the Declaration of Rights under the Constitution and the public and national interest, to establish a Cyber Security Centre and a Data Protection Authority.

The powers granted to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) to be three tier regulatory body covering telecommunications, cybersecurity and data protection puts the entire digital infrastructure under the control of one entity that does not have clear independence from the government.

Police Amendment Bill An Act to amend the Police Act and align it to the Constitution of Zimbabwe

The Amendment maintains the President and
Minister power to issue policy directives. Creating a vague sense of independence with its aspirational changes while leaving the crucial issue of separation from the executive to investigate without interference.

Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill To provide for the Establishment of a Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission for the investigation of complaints by members of the public against misconduct by members of the security services.

The President is granted extensive authority to
appoint the Chairman of the Commission without consultation of the Judicial Services Commission. As Commander-Chief of the Armed Forces it removes any independence from the Commission

Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act This Code brings together the in one legislation all of the major aspects of the Criminal Law of Zimbabwe, whilst at the same time effecting a whole series of reforms and improvements to the pre-existing Criminal Law. Hence the Title of the Act refers to both codification and reform of the Criminal Law.

Part III Sexual Crimes and Crimes against Morality The very idea of morality is difficult to legally ascertain especially under the 2013 Constitution. Section 77 (Public Indecency) of the Criminal Code runs counter to freedom of speech by limiting what one says in public without clear definitions at to what constitutes singing indecent language, or the writing of certain language.

NB* the blue colour coding shows the status of the legislation/bill or the level of progress achieved thus far in introducing amendments to the law.