According to section 100 of the constitution, Acts of the National
Assembly are made when the National Assembly passes a bill and the
president assents to it. Every law that is made should be known to the
public. This is why when the president assents to a bill he/she has to
ensure that it is published in the gazette. Hence subsection (6) of
section 100 states: “The President shall cause Acts of the National
Assembly to be published in the Gazette within thirty days of assent.”
Needless to say, unless otherwise stated, a law comes into effect on
the date of its publication. Hence section 100(7) states: “No Act of
the National Assembly shall come into operation until it has been
published in the Gazette, but the Act or some other Acts of the
National Assembly may provide for the postponement of its coming into
force.” This is endorsed by section 7 of the Interpretation Act.
Since a law comes into operation on the date of its publication it is
important that gazettes are published (made accessible to the public)
on the date indicated on it because there can be confusion on whether
somebody is legally in order in doing an act on a particular date. In
short, the date printed on a gazette should not read 27 August when it
is available to the public on 14 September as in the case of the
proclamation of the president.
Variation of dates can also create problems for litigants because
judicial officers would rather rely on the printed date and not the
date the gazette is made available to the public. Section 4 of the
Interpretation Act states: “Every Act shall be a public Act and shall
be judicially noticed as such, unless the contrary is expressly
provided by the Act.”