The External Relations Department
The External Relations Department was established in May 2005 in recognition of Parliament’s growing links with the external world and Zimbabwe’s increasing political and diplomatic clout in terms of participation at regional, continental and international fora;
The Department, therefore, provides a more focused approach to Parliament’s interface with the external environment and operates within the broader national foreign policy framework outlined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
To nurture, promote and maintain excellent relations between Parliament of Zimbabwe, other Parliaments, International Parliamentary Organizations and the Diplomatic Community.
Objectives of the External Relations Department
- To manage the Department effectively and efficiently;
- To attend to all correspondence on issues pertaining to bilateral and multilateral relations;
- To provide regular briefs and appropriate analysis on pertinent issues taking place at the Regional, Continental and International level;
- To provide protocol and hospitality services to Presiding Officers, Members of Parliament and visiting dignitaries;
- To make appropriate arrangements relating to official functions and visiting dignitaries.
FUNCTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT
Protocol and hospitality
- The Directorate provides protocol and hospitality services to outgoing and incoming delegates. These include:
- Organizing Official functions hosted by Parliament, including luncheons, dinners, receptions and some aspects of the Ceremonial Official Opening of Parliament;
- Secretariat and logistical arrangements for outgoing delegations approved by the Presiding Officers;
- Arranging and covering courtesy calls by diplomats and other dignitaries in liaison with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the offices of the Presiding Officers;
- Liaison with diplomatic missions and other regional and international organizations.
- Protocol arrangements for local workshops and seminars for Members and Staff of Parliament.
Co-ordination of Conferences hosted by Parliament.
International Conferences hosted by Parliament are coordinated by the Department of External Relations. In addition to coordinating the conference, the Directorate has specific duties related to the conference viz:-
- Drafting conference programmes;
- Official opening programme, provision of country name plates, desk flags as well as flags outside the conference room;
- Providing protocol and hospitality services; and
- Processing of Cabinet Authority to host conferences and incoming delegations.
Provision of Information
The Department has the responsibility of providing country briefs and other relevant information to Presiding Officers and Members of Parliament with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on the following occasions:
- Courtesy Calls on Presiding Officers by diplomats and other dignitaries;
- During meetings between a visiting delegation and Presiding Officers or Members of Parliament; and
- When a Zimbabwean delegation is traveling to another country either on an official visit or to attend an international conference.
International Parliamentary Organizations
Parliamentary Diplomacy of the Parliament of Zimbabwe is spearheaded by the External Relations Department through Parliament’s participation at the following International Parliamentary Organizations:
- Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) (www.ipu.org);
- Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe currently sits on the Executive Committee of the IPU.
- African Parliamentary Union (APU) (www.africanpu.org);
- Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate of the Republic of Zimbabwe is the current President of the APU.
- SADC – Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) (www.sadcpf.org);
- Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe currently sits on the Executive Committee of the SADC – PF.
- Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States Pacific / European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly (OACPS/EU – JPA) (www.acp.int);
- Pan – African Parliament (PAP) (www.pan-africanparliament.org); Hon. Senator Chief Fortune Zephania Charumbira is the current President of the PAP.
- The Association of Senates, SHOORA and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECAA) (www.assecaa.org);
- Southern African Development Committee Organization of Public Accounts Committees (SADCOPAC) (www.sadcopac.org)
- African Parliamentarians Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE) (www.apnode.org)
- Membership in International Parliamentary Organizations is voluntary and joining is either initiated by Parliament or at the invitation of Parliament by a particular organization. A resolution of the National Assembly and Senate is required for Parliament of Zimbabwe to be a member of any organization.
- Once the two Houses have resolved, Parliament of Zimbabwe writes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade informing them about their decision and seeking advice on organizations whose objectives might not be in tandem with Zimbabwe’s foreign policy objectives.
- Membership enhances inter-parliamentary cooperation and dialogue. It provides for Parliamentarians to discuss political, economic and social subjects affecting people at national, regional and the global level. It is aimed at finding possible solutions to global problems.
Management of the Parliament Bar
The Department is also responsible for the Management of the Parliament Bar whose patrons are exclusively Members of Parliament.