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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 8 SEPTEMBER 2023 VOL 50 NO 2

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Friday, 8th September, 2023

OFFICIAL REPORT

NEW MEMBERS SWORN

          THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT: Whereas Section 128 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that before a Member of Parliament takes his/her seat in Parliament in the form set out in the Third Schedule and whereas Section 128 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that the Oath referred to in Section 128 (1) must be taken before the Clerk of Parliament.  Yesterday we had a few members who were not sworn in. If there are any Members who were not present yesterday, may you kindly come forward so that we begin the proceedings.

Now, therefore, I Kennedy Mugove Chokuda, Clerk of Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe, by virtue of the powers vested in me in terms of Section 128 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, do hereby administer the Oath of a Member of Parliament. I therefore, call upon the following Hon. Members to subscribe to the Oath or Affirmation of Loyalty as required by Section 128 of the Constitution and Standing Order Number 2. I call upon Hon. Chido Sanyatwe and Hon. Supa Collins Mandiwanzira.  

HON. CHIDO SANYATWE and HON. SUPA COLLINS MANDIWANZIRA subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the Law and took their seats – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

ELECTION OF SPEAKER

          THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT:  Section 126 (1) of the Constitution and Standing Order Number 3 require that when the National Assembly first meets after a General Election before it proceeds to the dispatch of any other business, it shall elect a Presiding Officer, not being a Vice President, Minister or a Deputy Minister to be known as the Speaker.  The Speaker shall be elected in accordance with Standing Orders from among persons who are or have been Members of Parliament or are qualified for election as Members of the National Assembly. I am satisfied that we have a quorum of 70 Members - I have noted that we have more than 70 Members in the Chamber and I therefore, call for nominations of candidates for the position of Speaker of the National Assembly.

          HON. TOGAREPI:  I nominate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda of ZANU PF to the position of Speaker of Parliament.

          HON. DR. MAVETERA:  I second.

          THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT: Any further nominations? There being no further nominations, I therefore declare Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda duly elected to the Office of Speaker. 

ELECTION OF DEPUTY SPEAKER

          THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT: Order, order, Section 127 of the Constitution and Standing Order Number 8, require that when the National Assembly first meets after a General Election, and as soon as practicable after the election of Speaker, it shall elect a Member of the National Assembly not being a Vice President, Minister or Deputy Minister to be the Deputy Speaker and Chairperson of Committees.  I therefore, call for nominations of candidates for election of the Deputy Speaker.

          HON. SIMBANEGAVI: I rise to nominate Tsitsi Gezi to the position of Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly. 

          HON. PHUTI:  I second.

          THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT:  Are there any further nominations?  There being no further nominations, I therefore declare Tsitsi Gezi duly elected to the Office of Deputy Speaker.

REGISTRATION OF FINANCIAL INTERESTS

          THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT:  I would like to inform Hon. Members that in terms of Section 198 of the Constitution as read together with Standing Order 51 of the National Assembly, all Members must register all financial interests in a book to be kept and maintained by the Clerk under the direction of the Speaker.  Members are required to register their financial interests within 60 days of taking of the oath of office.  We calculate the days from yesterday.  The 60 days will expire on the 14th of November 2023 for those sworn in yesterday and 15th of November for those sworn in today.  Those who fail to comply with the requirement of the Standing Order and the Constitution will be in contempt of Parliament.

          For this registration, all Members are to visit the Office of Counsel to Parliament in office 306, Third Floor, Old Parliament building.  We will make available the forms and you will be assisted on how to complete them. Please note the due dates, 14th November 2023 for those sworn in yesterday and 15th November 2023 for those sworn in today.

          HON. TOGAREPI:  May I advise Members not to play around with microphones. What we are seeing there is not good.  It will destruct other people from following proceedings.

THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT:  Thank you very much Hon. Togarepi.  We expect the Chief Justice to be here by 10.30 am.  He will be here shortly and we will proceed.

Hon. Members singing.

THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT:  Hon. Members, Hon. Members, can I appeal to you to be calm.  There will be time for that.  The Standing Orders do not allow us to sing.  Please, can you bear with us.  We just want to maintain the decorum of the House and proceedings.  Thank you very much for your understanding.

The House was suspended at 1016 hours and resumed at 1150 hours

          THE CLERK OF PARLIAMENT:  I now call upon Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, to come and take the Oath of Loyalty and Office.

          CHIEF JUSTICE LUKE MALABA:  WHEREAS Section 126 (1) of the Constitution provides that on this first sitting after the general elections and before proceeding to any other business, the National Assembly must elect a presiding officer known as the Speaker.

AND WHEREAS Section 126 (5) of the Constitution provides that before commencing his or her duties, the Speaker must take before the Chief Justice or the next most senior Judge available, the Oath of Loyalty and Office as set out in the Third Schedule.

AND WHEREAS you Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, having been duly elected as Speaker of the National Assembly in terms of Section 126 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

NOW, THEREFORE, I Luke Malaba, Chief Justice of the Republic of Zimbabwe, by virtue of the powers vested in me in terms of Section 126 (5) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, do call upon you Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda to take the Oath of Loyalty and Office.   

Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda subscribed to the oaths of Loyalty and Office.

Singing.

The Hon. Speaker accordingly assumed the Chair.

CHIEF JUSTICE MALABA: WHEREAS Section 127 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that as soon as practicable after electing a Speaker following a general election, the National Assembly must elect one of its members to be the Deputy Speaker;

          AND WHEREAS Section 127 (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that before commencing his or her duties, the Deputy Speaker must take before the Chief Justice or the next most senior judge available, the Oaths of Loyalty and Office in the forms set out in the Third Schedule;

          AND WHEREAS you Tsitsi Gezi having been duly elected as Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly in terms of Section 127 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe;

          NOW, THEREFORE, I Luke Malaba, Chief Justice of the Republic of Zimbabwe, by virtue of the powers vested in me in terms of Section 127 (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, do call upon Tsitsi Gezi to take the Oaths of Loyalty and Office.

          Hon. Tsitsi Gezi subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty and Office.

          The Hon. Deputy Speaker accordingly assumed the Chair.

          Singing!

          THE HON. SPEAKER: May I have the privilege to address the august House and the distinguished Hon. Members by first of all congratulating all Members of Parliament here present in the National Assembly for the manner in which you conducted yourselves yesterday as I followed the proceedings very intently. It was a pleasure to see a lot of new faces, more so, young faces for that matter – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – For that, thank you. Your election and efforts for this process to take place, and I am grateful that I have been sworn in as the Speaker of the National Assembly and also as the Speaker of Parliament, in the context that I should have the privilege and honour of being head of this revered institution.

          Hon. Members, I take the Oath as a very significant happening in one’s time. The Oath is an affirmation that we are receptive. The responsibility to act in our various stations, constituencies as Members of Parliament and Presiding Officers. When you read very carefully, the Oath, right at the beginning, it does indicate that we have to express our loyalty to the sovereign state of Zimbabwe. Our loyalty to Zimbabwe is not to the coordinates of the geography of Zimbabwe, it is a loyalty to the sovereign state of Zimbabwe. It is permanent and will not change even when we are gone in the future. It is therefore important that as we affirm that loyalty to our motherland, we must be conscious of our lives as we perform our duties as Members of Parliament and as Presiding Officers that we are indebted to our motherland – our motherland from which dust we came from and from which dust we shall return, because the final blanket that will be above us will be the soil of our motherland.

          In that respect therein lies our desire to remain loyal under one flag and under one national anthem. We committed ourselves in our Oaths to uphold our Constitution. Let us walk together in that responsibility in trying to measure up to the dictates of the provisions of the Constitution. Hon Members, we cannot uphold that which we do not understand or know. It is therefore my plea that the Constitution be read thoroughly by all of us so that we are able to uphold it as something that is fully understood by us. Not only that, we have a responsibility in terms of Article 7 of the Constitution to disseminate that Constitution which has been translated to all the 14 indigenous languages. It is therefore, peremptory that we should be seen to be the apostles in the dissemination of that Constitution. Side by side, our Constitution demands that we must uphold all the laws of Zimbabwe and in doing so, we are going to be continually guided by the supreme law so that there is no deviation in that direction.

          Our Oath says we should perform our duties to the best of our abilities, now biblically, let us imitate the first two stewards – one was given five talents. The other two the other one. The first two multiplied their talents. In the performance of our responsibilities as Members of Parliament, let us be alive that we are going to be called upon to exercise those abilities at all times and it is not a walk in the garden. As older Members of Parliament will indicate and affirm that you will be called upon to do certain things beyond the constitutional mandate for which you have been elected like going to funerals, attending to schools, the problems of school children without fees, without uniforms, you will be expected to go to weddings. The electorate will expect you, this is a very costly exercise and it is not easy. I pray therefore, that as you apply to the best of your abilities and energies, we have hope that the people will understand that you are not miracle workers.

          I therefore conclude by saying let us commit ourselves through a unity of purpose, particularly as we exercise the tripartite roles and constitutional roles given to us by the Constitution of legislation. Sometimes we underestimate ourselves as legislators. No country in this world can stand without the authority of the law and that law comes from Members of Parliament. This is how critical we are in this legislative process. Furthermore, we are of course required to represent our people effectively. Let us not experience in the Tenth Parliament, a situation where some Members will start as you have started now, the parliamentary process and not even open their mouths, to say something from the constituencies which they represent. That will be a serious indictment against us. You cannot debate say a motion or ask oral questions, but you can ask a written question so that you will truly represent the people in all respects. Let us not have dump Members of Parliament. Let us have Members of Parliament who will speak for the voiceless electorate because you are the ones representing the electorate here. They cannot be in this institution, but they are through your presence here.

          Finally, yes of course, critical oversight over the Executive is very important and this comes to the committee system and the committee system is a path to parliamentary processes. One expects that a Member who is assigned to a particular committee, that Member will be able to contribute as much as possible in the committee system representing the people or exercising oversight over the Executive or indeed carry out the legislative process through public interviews.

          I conclude by saying, I wish all of us all the prosperity in the Tenth Parliament and we can only achieve that prosperity and make a difference in our parliamentary processes if we remain committed and continue to share a unity of purpose, that will be an indelible mark in our next five years as we conclude that in 2028.

Hon. Members, I have to inform the House that in terms of Standing Order Number 11 – I am sorry you will forgive me.  In my conclusion, I should have apologised for the late start of the proceedings.  You have been waiting for a long time for certain exigencies.  So, my apologies for that.  I hope it will not happen in the 11th Parliament.

          I have to present myself and Hon. Tsitsi Gezi to His Excellency the President and shall inform him that the choice of this House has fallen upon me to be your Speaker and upon Hon. Tsitsi Gezi to be Deputy Speaker as well as Chairperson of Committees.

          In presenting myself to the President, I shall in your name and approval, lay claim to the undoubted rights and privileges of Parliament by law and customs established which are enjoyed by the Parliament of Zimbabwe pursuant to the requirements of the Constitution and the laws.

I now invite my proposer and seconder to accompany me together with as many Hon. Members as they desire to do so to the ceremony that will take place at State House at a date to be announced later.

Accordingly, I declare this Session adjourned until Parliament is officially opened by His Excellency the President on a date to be pronounced through some gazette.  I thank you.  

Proceedings ended at Twenty-Five Minutes past Twelve o’clock p.m.        

 

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