Farirai Machivenyika and Nyemudzai Kakore
At least 341 out of the 350 parliamentarians elected in the July 30 harmonised elections took their oaths of office at Parliament Building to begin the life of Ninth Parliament.
Parliament is made up of the National Assembly and Senate, with the former made up of 270 members while the latter has 80 members.
It was a hive of activity at the august House as the incoming legislators, some of them accompanied by their families, went through the formalities. The event could also be mistaken for a fashion show with MPs and their families dressed for the occasion.
Family members who accompanied the parliamentarians took advantage of the rare opportunity to take photographs in Parliament.
The parliamentarians and their families were at Parliament Building as early as 9 o’clock.
Outside Parliament scores of supporters of political parties represented in Parliament gathered in Africa Unity Square chanting party slogans and songs. Security was tight in and around Parliament to ensure proceedings went on smoothly.
In the National Assembly 266 members were sworn-in while 74 members took their oaths in the Senate.
First to be sworn-in were members of the National Assembly who took their oaths in batches of 10 as they could not all fit in the Chamber.
Some parliamentarians had to be accommodated in the Speaker’s and Press Galleries. The proceedings went on smoothly and all the National Assembly members present had been sworn in by 1pm.
The Senators then took their oaths in the afternoon with their ceremony lasting just over an hour. The ceremonies were presided over by Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda and were done in terms of Section 128 (1) of the Constitution.
Speaking in an interview, Mr Chokuda said the ceremonies had gone on smoothly.
“The swearing-in ceremony for both the Senate and National Assembly went on very well. The attendance by members of both Houses was very impressive,” he said.
“In the National Assembly only six MPs could not be sworn in, while in the Senate three members were absent. These members will take their oaths at the commencement of business next Tuesday before we proceed to the election of presiding officers.
“The high attendance has also assisted us as the administration of Parliament to collate the bio-data of most MPs. Our staff will be doing the mop- up exercise next Tuesdays for the MPs who could not be attended to today.”
Following yesterday’s swearing-in, the two Houses of Parliament will choose their presiding officers next Tuesday. The National Assembly will elect the Speaker and his or her deputy while the Senate will elect its president and his or her deputy.
President Mnangagwa will then officially open the first session of the Ninth Parliament on a date to be advised.