Back to Index
summoning Parliament - Bill
August 23, 2008
The proclamation fixing
the date for the swearing-in of members of the House of Assembly
and Senators [Monday 25th August] and summoning Parliament to meet
[on Tuesday 26th August at 12 noon] was gazetted late on 21st August
in Statutory Instrument 119A/2008 [Electronic version of statutory
instrument available on request].
The House of
Assembly swearing-in is at 10 am, followed by the election of the
Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The Senate swearing-in is at 2.30 pm,
followed by the election of the President and Deputy President of
the Senate. The oath to be taken is the standard oath of loyalty
set out in First Schedule to the Constitution:
“I, [n], do swear [or solemnly affirm] that I will be faithful
and bear true allegiance to Zimbabwe and observe the laws of Zimbabwe”.
If there is a Speaker elected who is not a member of Parliament
he or she will have to take the same oath.
of Speaker and President of Senate
If the positions are
contested voting is by secret ballot.
The reported harassment
of a number of MDC Parliamentarians is of concern because if these
MPs are prevented from attending and voting for the Speaker, it
would have serious consequences as the margin between parties is
narrow in the House of Assembly.
There is no information
yet on whether the names of the five appointed Senate Members and
ten Provincial Governors [all of whom will be ex officio Senators]
will be announced before the swearing in of the Senate. If they
are not appointed before the voting for Senate President, the decisive
votes for this office will rest with the Senator chiefs.
The Speaker is primarily
the presiding officer of the House of Assembly. Some media reports
have stated that the Speaker assumes Presidential powers temporarily
if the incumbent President is absent or unable to perform the duties
of office through illness or death. That is incorrect. Section 31
of the Constitution, providing for an Acting President, clearly
states that in such circumstances the duties of the President will
be performed by a Vice-President or, if no Vice-President is available,
a Minister designated for the purpose by the President [or, if the
President has not done so, a Minister designated by the Cabinet].
opening of Parliament
Shortly before 12 noon
on Tuesday members of the House of Assembly and the Senate will
meet in their respective chambers to hear the Clerk of Parliament
read the proclamation summoning Parliament. The Senate will then
join the House of Assembly for Mr Mugabe’s speech, which will
outline the Government’s legislative programme for the first
session of this Parliament. He ends the speech by declaring the
session officially open. The two Houses will then resume in their
separate chambers for the tabling of the customary motions for an
Address in reply to the speech, and announcements by the presiding
officers. Both Houses will then adjourn until a day proposed by
a Minister. [Note: no other motions may be tabled on opening day
without the prior consent of the Speaker]. In the past these proceedings
usually come to an end before 1 pm.
Ministers and Cabinet
There is no information
on V-Ps, Ministerial and Cabinet appointments. Press reports have
stated that the Constitution requires appointments to the Cabinet
be made before Parliament meets, but that is not so. As pointed
out in previous Bill Watches, however, any existing Minister or
V-P still without a seat when Parliament meets on Tuesday will immediately
become ineligible to hold Ministerial office [and therefore Cabinet
office] until he or she has once again acquired a seat.
election petitions have been dismissed by the Electoral Court for
failure to comply with the procedural requirements laid down for
such petitions by the Electoral
Act. The total number of petitions dismissed on such grounds
now stands at 21. The decisions affect both MDC and ZANU-PF petitioners.
Appeals against the earlier decisions have been lodged in the Supreme
Court. The appeals are unlikely to be heard before mid-September.
to set aside the Presidential election
Mr Justine Chiota has
lodged a application in the Supreme Court for an order setting aside
the Presidential election. On August 1st Mr Chiota and Mr Shumba
won their Supreme Court case against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
The judgment was that the nomination court’s refusal to accept
the applicants’ nomination papers was not in accordance with
the law and therefore null and void. Mr Chiota is now seeking a
Supreme Court order to nullify the Presidential election results.
The matter has not been set down for hearing. It has been reported
that Mr Chiota has also made a similar application to the SADC Tribunal.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.