Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
The official opening of the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament by President Mugabe yesterday was characterised by a huge turnout of members of the public who crowded street corners to catch a glimpse of the proceedings. The programme started in the morning at State House where the President had a private photo session with First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe.
President Mugabe and the First Lady were dressed for the occasion, donning a blending colour combination of dark suits.
The State House photo session was followed by the inspection of a Guard of Honour by the Police Escort Mounted Unit at 11 O’clock.
The parade constituted of 32 horses, with Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri leading the President in inspecting the guard of honour.
After the State House event, the President Mugabe, accompanied by the First Lady and his procession, headed for Parliament in a vintage Rolls Royce.
On arrival at Parliament Building in the Central Business District, through Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, President Mugabe and his entourage were greeted by wild cheers from the crowd gathered in the Africa Unity Square, adjacent to the August House.
Outside Parliament Building, the President inspected a guard of honour mounted by the Zimbabwe National Army Presidential Guard.
Earlier on, the national anthem was played simultaneously with a fly past by Airforce of Zimbabwe.
During the singing of the national anthem, there was a firing of a 21-gun salute, whose booming sound reverberated throughout the central business district and shook window panes on surrounding buildings.
At Africa Unity Square, the gathered crowds were entertained by an apostolic sect group that was singing the song “Mutungamiri Gabriel, tungamira” and Mbare Chimurenga Choir which charmed many with its well chereographed dances.
The choir members were dancing to their productions which included “VaMugabe ndivo vari kutonga” and “Nyatsoteerera unzwe kutonga”.
President Mugabe then led the procession into the chambers, before proceedings started.
He was followed by a procession of service chiefs, Supreme Court and High Court judges led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda, his deputy Cde Marble Chinomona, Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda and Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko.
Cabinet Ministers and their deputies followed, while Members of Parliament and Senators were led by Senate President Edna Madzongwe.
Traditional chiefs were led by the Chief’s Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira.
The event, which was attended by captains of industry, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe and hundreds of people from all walks of life followed proceedings from an imposing monitors installed at Parliament’s courtyard and adjacent to Africa Unity Square.
President Mugabe then addressed a joint sitting of both the Senate and the National Assembly.
The President’s speech outlined the legislative agenda ahead and was welcomed by legislators from both sides.
After President Mugabe ended his keynote address at 12:20pm, legislators applauded him for chiding Cabinet Ministers who bunked Parliament business.
Once outside Parliament Building, the national anthem was sang before President Mugabe and his entrouge left.