Parliament will next year introduce new attire for presiding officers and other parliamentary traditions that reflect the country’s cultural heritage.
The introduction of the new attire and other practices will coincide with the relocation of the Parliament to the new building expected to be completed by March 2021.
This was said Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, while responding to a point of privilege raised by Musikavanhu legislator, Cde Joshua Murire, questioning the appropriateness of the mace carried by the Sergeant-at-Arms at the head of the Speaker’s procession from his office to the Chamber.
A mace is a highly ornamented rod of metal and is regarded as a symbol of the authority of the House.
Cde Murire said the mace dated from colonial days and that its head was a representation of the British Queen’s crown. He called for it to be modified to reflect the Zimbabwean flag and coat of arms.
Advocate Mudenda said the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Heritage, under direction of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, was already preparing for the move to the new Parliament in March 2021, working on redesigning not only the mace and other Parliamentary artefacts, but also the attire of presiding officers and clerks-at-the-table.
“The observation by the member is pertinent,” Adv Mudenda said.
“The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has assigned the Committee on Cultural Affairs chaired by Zanu PF chief whip (Cde) Pupurai Togarepi.
“The team is working on the new design and other actors that need to decorate our Parliament and therefore cut the umbilical code with the colonial era.”
The committee was redesigning a new dress code of the presiding parliamentary officers and their assistants to reflect the country’s national identity.
The present attire of the presiding officers and their assistants consists of black robes.
“Work is in progress and should be attained before year-end and before we move to the new parliament in March next year,” said Adv Mudenda.
The new parliament building is being constructed from a grant from the Chinese government.