Norman Muchemwa and Lincoln Towindo
The Parliament of Zimbabwe has finalised preparations for Tuesday’s election of the Speaker of National Assembly, Senate President and their deputies.
Parliamentarians who missed last week’s induction will also be sworn in on Tuesday.
In terms of Sections 122, 123, 126 and 127 of the Constitution, Parliament must elect presiding officers at the first sitting after a general election before conducting any other business. The elections, which are conducted through secret ballot, are presided over by the Clerk of Parliament under the supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Election results are announced immediately after polling.
Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda told The Sunday Mail last week that, “Definitely, we are ready for the process and as required by the Constitution. We have engaged ZEC as we prepare for the elections because as you might be aware, the elections are done by the Clerk of Parliament with the supervision of ZEC.
“We have gone through our procedures with them and we have also gone through logistical requirements – ballot boxes and so forth – and also as you will notice, we also have Members of Parliament with disabilities; we are also making provisions for them so that they can vote in comfort.
“What will happen is that when we meet on Tuesday, we start with swearing in of Members of Parliament who did not take their oath last Wednesday . . .
“Then we will proceed immediately to call for nominations. If we get just one nomination, there will be no need for an election. If we get more than one nomination, then we will have to proceed to elections by secret ballot and we will follow exactly more or less what happens during our national elections.
“We will have a polling station within Parliament, and members coming to vote will use the list we got from ZEC as our voters’ register and we will follow the same processes of verification and marking of ballot papers and at the end the tallying and everything. So we will follow exactly the same process of what happens during the national elections.”
ZEC acting chief elections officer Mr Utoile Silaigwana said the elections management body was ready to supervise the elections.
“The elections for the Speaker of Parliament and Senate President, as well as their deputies, are conducted by the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Chokuda, as provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and ZEC will only play a supervisory role during the elections,” said Mr Silaigwana.
“And in terms of supervision, we are ready and we had a meeting with the Clerk of Parliament ahead of the elections on Tuesday. So, the conduct of the elections is the prerogative of the Clerk of Parliament and we are more than ready to play our role as supervisors.”
To qualify for nomination for Speaker of the National Assembly, a person must be a member or former member of the National Assembly, or be a registered voter and at least 21-years-old. To stand for the position of President of the Senate, a person must be a Senator or former Senator, or be a registered voter and at least 40 years of age. If a sitting MP is elected as Senate President or National Assembly Speaker, that person immediately ceases to represent a constituency.
The vacancy must be filled via a by-election or by the procedure for filling vacant proportional representation seats, as appropriate.
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