The Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) has rejected a Statutory Instrument promulgated by Minister of Lands Agriculture and Resettlement, Perrance Shiri which seeks to criminalise farmers who breach Command Agriculture programs. The PLC noted that the contract is a civil matter and as such the remedy should be civil and not criminal. PLC chairperson Jonathan Samukange last week said,
The committee still stands on the view that Sections 5, 6 and 7 criminalise the breach of contract…These two parties have agreed that they will go into this contract. They sign the agreement. What is happening is that the minister now wants to criminalise what the two parties had agreed to. In our view, we think that it is contravening the rights of the contracting parties.
…The law should not be there to cause innocent people to suffer. That is not right, it is bad law.
Minister Shiri is left with two options. Either to repeal the offending provisions of the statutory instrument or to approach the Constitutional Court for a declaration that those sections are constitutional.