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Statement by the Clerk of Parliament, Mr. A.M.Zvoma
Parliament of Zimbabwe
March 22, 2011

Following the handing down of the Supreme Court Judgment on 10 March 2011, which nullified the election of Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly, I pointed out that we are still studying the full implications of the Supreme Court judgment. That study included the requirements to be put in place to meet the clearly laid down criteria of secret ballot in any election of a Presiding Officer, in this case the Speaker of the House of Assembly. I am pleased to announce that we have now completed that study and taken legal advice.

After the 2008 Parliamentary elections, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe fixed Tuesday 25 August 2008, Parliament Building, as the date and place at which newly elected members were to meet in terms of section 39(1), and elect a Speaker of the House of Assembly. Pursuant to that, members duly declared elected at the 2008 Parliamentary elections assembled and, after taking the Oath or Affirmation of Loyalty, proceeded to electa Speaker. In compliance with the law, the process was presided over by the Clerk of Parliament.

It is now a matter of public record that in its ruling, the Supreme Court found the voting process by secret ballot flawed and accordingly set aside the election of Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly. Put differently, notwithstanding that the ruling means that Mr. L. Moyo was never legally elected Speaker: he was a de facto Speaker from 25 August 2008 until 10 March 2011, the date of the Supreme Court ruling. This notwithstanding, precedent is clear, that decisions made by the incumbent during this period remain valid for legal and other consequences.

The status quo that prevailed just before the purported election has been restored by this judgment. In this case, we have to proceed from the position that although there was a dissolution of Parliament (including the House of Assembly), there was no election of Speaker of the House on 25 August 2008.

The Constitution, Standing Orders and the Supreme Court Ruling oblige us to go back to the beginning to procedurally and lawfully fill the vacancy in the office of Speaker created by the dissolution of Parliament at the beginning of 2008. Accordingly, I, as the clerk of Parliament duly mandated to comply with the provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders, do hereby announce that the election of the Speaker will take place on a future date to be announced in due course.

As a result of the foregoing, the adjournment of the House of Assembly to 14:15 hours today, the 22nd March 2011, has been superceded by the Supreme Court ruling and there will be no further business of the House until the election of the Speaker.

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