Parliament awaits President’s inauguration

Rumbidzai Muparutsa
Parliament has notified the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Judicial Services Commission of the impending establishment of the Ninth Parliament.

Zimbabwe has a bicameral system of a National Assembly and Senate, with the former having 270 members and the latter 80 representatives.

Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda told The Sunday Mail last week that ZEC and the JSC had assured his office of their readiness to fulfil constitutional mandates for establishing the next Parliament.

According to Sections 122, 123, 126 and 127 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, ZEC should supervise the election of the President of Senate, Speaker of the National Assembly and their deputies.

Upon election, the four must take oaths of loyalty and office before the Chief Justice or the next most senior judge available.

Reads Section 122, “Election to the office of the President of the Senate must be conducted by the Clerk of Parliament under the supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission…

“Before commencing his or her duties, the President of the Senate 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.”

“Swearing-in of the new Members of Parliament will be held after the inauguration of the President-elect,” said Mr Chokuda.

“We have alerted ZEC and the judiciary about the new Parliament and they are ready. The Standing Orders state exactly that the election of the President of Senate and the Speaker of National Assembly and their deputies is done by secret ballots, hence the necessity of ZEC.

“We have already put in place the mechanisms and we have come up with processes we are going to use for the swearing in of members first then the conduct of the elections if necessary using secret ballot, under the supervision of ZEC.

“The swearing in of the speaker, president of senate and their deputies is done by the Chief justice or the next most senior judge, so we have already communicated with them.”

According to Section 143(1) of the Constitution, the life of Parliament begins the day the President is sworn-in.

The Constitution says MPs must be sworn in no later than 30 days after the swearing-in of the President.

Zanu-PF secured a two-thirds majority in Parliament after winning 145 National Assembly seats in the July 30, 2018 elections, compared to 63 for MDC Alliance, one for NPF and one for an independent candidate.

Sixty women are part of the National Assembly on a proportional representation basis.

The Senate has 80 members, 60 of whom are elected on a proportional representation basis, 16 chiefs, the president and deputy president of the National Council of Chiefs, and two representatives of people with disabilities.

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