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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 13 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
March 29, 2011
sitting of the House of Assembly to elect a new Speaker finally
took place yesterday in Parliament, where Lovemore Moyo (MDC-T)
beat his ZANU PF rival Simon Khaya Moyo by 105 votes to 93 votes.
The elections were necessitated by Supreme
Court's ruling which set aside Lovemore Moyo's election as Speaker
on 25 August 2011. The election attracted tremendous public interest
as witnessed by both the Public and Press Galleries which were full
to the brim. Actually some members of the public were turned away
as there was simply no space to accommodate everyone in the public
gallery who had come to witness the election. Actually the Public
Gallery was already full before the proceedings had even started.
in the House
The Clerk of Parliament,
Mr. Austin Zvoma, kicked off the proceedings in the House by laying
down election ground rules to Members of Parliament and underlined
the fact that he was not going to entertain any questions or queries
from Members. This drew the ire of MDC MPs who wanted to know why
Vice President John Nkomo was in the House of Assembly, given that
the Clerk of Parliament had earlier on ejected Lovemore Moyo out
of the Chamber, on the basis that he was not a Member of Parliament.
The swearing-in of Vice
President John Nkomo and Oppah Muchinguri was drowned in jeers from
MDC-T MPs who felt hard-done by their counterparts.
Hon. Lawrence Mavima
nominated Simon Khaya Moyo as ZANU PF's candidate for Speakership.
On the other hand, Hon. Tendai Biti, seconded by Hon. Willias Madzimure,
nominated Lovemore Moyo as their party's candidate. In a mock gesture,
Hon. Tongai Matutu, seconded by Hon. Amos Chibaya nominated Hon.
Jonathan Moyo as a third candidate. For a moment ZANU PF Members
panicked as they assumed that by virtue of being a candidate Hon.
Jonathan Moyo would not be eligible to vote and they protested strongly
to the Clerk of Parliament for allowing the nomination of Jonathan
Moyo to stand. Tempers only cooled down after Mr. Zvoma explained
to the House that a candidate who is already a Member of Parliament
was entitled to vote. However, Hon. Jonathan Moyo rejected the nomination.
In his motivation speech,
Hon. Mavima said Simon Khaya Moyo was a more credible candidate
as his political and diplomatic background put him in a better stead
to be Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Biti prefaced his statement in support of Lovemore Moyo's candidature
with scathing remarks especially in the manner the Clerk of Parliament
had handled the whole issue. This did not go down well with Mr.
Zvoma who called Hon. Biti out of order. Mr. Zvoma informed the
House that whatever remarks made by Hon. Biti, which were not relevant
to his motivational speech for his party's candidate, would not
be part of the records of the proceedings. This means that Hon.
Biti's critical comments will be expunged from the Hansard. If this
were to happen, it would raise serious procedural questions because
a Hansard is an official verbatim report of the plenary proceedings
in the House, which should not be altered for whatever reasons.
A makeshift polling station
with 4 polling booths was stationed outside the Chamber, ostensibly
to minimize pandemonium in the House that characterized the previous
elections on 25 August 2008. The counting of ballots was also done
in the "polling station" in the presence of party agents;
Hon. Joram Gumbo and Hon. Paul Mangwana for ZANU PF and Hon. Innocent
Gonese and Hon. Douglas Mwonzora representing MDC-T. The actual
balloting was preceded by the printing of ballot papers and verification
of register, which was all done in the presence of party agents
and the press.
The election process
this time round appeared very thorough as compared to the previous
elections whose results were nullified by the Supreme Court.
Before the Clerk
of Parliament could announce the results, the House was already
in a carnival atmosphere as MDC-T MPs and their colleagues from
MDC broke into song and dance. The swearing-in of Vice President
John Nkomo and Hon. Oppah Muchinguri just before the election process
started boosted the number of eligible Members for ZANU PF to 98.
MDC-T had 96 Members whereas MDC had 8 eligible Members. In his
election report, Mr. Zvoma said there were 199 MPs in the House
out of the expected 203 Members eligible to vote. This means that
4 Members did not turn up for the election. It is still not clear
who these Members were and the reasons why they did not turn up.
There was one spoilt paper for Simon Khaya Moyo and two ballot papers
for Lovemore Moyo which ZANU PF party agents had reservations on.
However, the two ballots were finally accepted as valid votes. The
MDC-T Lovemore Moyo garnered 105 votes against his ZANU PF rival,
Simon Khaya Moyo's 93 votes.
A quick analysis of the
above numbers reveals that at least 4 ZANU PF Members voted for
In his acceptance speech,
Speaker Lovemore Moyo thanked his party for nominating him. He also
thanked all Members who voted for him across the political divide
and said these Members were brave enough to express their democratic
The speaker also thanked
all Zimbabweans who gave him moral support during the "darkest
hour of his political life" that he endured in the past weeks.
Hon. Moyo said he would
continue to guide parliament to ensure that the institution adheres
to democratic principles and to make it assertive in executing its
constitutional mandate. In particular, he pledged his support to
the good work being done by portfolio committees.
He also implored the
3 arms of State to respect the doctrine of separation of powers
to ensure non-interference in the affairs of one another.
of the House
The House adjourned to
Tuesday 5 April 2011.
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