Parliament set to elect presiding officers

Kennedy Chokuda

HARARE – Parliament will tomorrow elect the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Senate President and their deputies, a development that will pave way for the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.

This comes after President Mnangagwa proclaimed September 25 as the day for the official opening of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe.

The President is expected to set the legislative agenda for the new session.

In an interview with The Herald, Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda said the event would be preceded by the swearing-in of legislators who were not available on Wednesday last week.

At least 341 of the 350 parliamentarians elected in the July 30 harmonised elections took their oath of office at Parliament Building.

“Parliament of Zimbabwe is geared for the election of presiding officers on Tuesday, the 11th of September. The elections will be preceded by the swearing-in of the few MPs who were not present last Wednesday,” he said.

“Elections will only be necessary if there is more than one nomination. Once the elections are done the presiding officers will be sworn in by the Chief Justice or the next most senior judge.

“We will begin with elections in the National Assembly in the morning and end the programme with the Senate at 2.30pm.”

Mr Chokuda said the Head of State and Government had pronounced tomorrow’s date in a notice published by Parliament.

“The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has fixed Tuesday, 11th September, 2018 at 0900 hours at Parliament Building as the date, time and place for the first sitting of Parliament in terms of Section 145 (1) of the Constitution, mainly to elect presiding officers,” reads the notice from Parliament.

Section 145 of the Constitution reads: “First sitting of Parliament following general election, (1) The first sitting of Parliament after a general election must take place at a time and date determined by the President, but the date must not be later than 30 days after the President-elect assumes office in terms of Section 94.

“(2) Until the election of a President of the Senate or a Speaker, as the case may be, the first meeting of a House of Parliament must be presided over by the Clerk of Parliament.”

Zanu-PF is, however, expected to determine who is elected in both Houses given that it has a comfortable majority, which it should use to its advantage.

In an interview yesterday, Zanu-PF Chief Whip Cde Lovemore Matuke sai:, “I stand guided and sanctioned by the party.

“Any developments on the candidature of the Speaker of Parliament or the Senate President will be guided after the holding of the Politburo meeting.”

Asked recently if they would field a candidate given that they were in the minority, MDC-Alliance national chairperson, Mr Morgan Komichi, said they would soon hold a caucus to decide.

“We will soon convene our own caucus where we will deliberate whether to field a candidate or not,” he said.

Advocate Jacob Mudenda was the Speaker of the National Assembly during the Eighth Parliament and was deputised by Mabel Chinomona, while Edna Madzongwe was President of the Senate, with Chen Chimutengwende as her deputy.