Tendai Rupapa and Nyemudzai Kakore
The official opening of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament saw President Mnangagwa delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA) following his election in the July 30 harmonised elections.
It was pomp and fanfare as the public crowded street corners to catch a glimpse of the proceedings.
The crowd was mesmerised by the President’s vintage Rolls-Royce accompanied by the Police Escort Mounted Unit from State House to Parliament Building.
The programme started in the morning at State House with a photo session for the President, who was dressed for the occasion.
President Mnangagwa donned a dark suit decorated with medals and the ceremonial sash.
The photo session was followed by the inspection of a Guard of Honour by the Police Escort Mounted Unit.
The parade comprised 32 horses, with Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga leading the President in inspecting the Guard of Honour.
After the State House event, the President got into the Rolls Royce and headed for Parliament with his procession.
They used Josiah Tongogara Avenue before turning into Sam Nujoma Street.
The public cheered all the way, while capturing the procession on their mobile phones.
On arrival at Parliament Building, President Mnangagwa and his entourage were greeted by wild cheers from the crowd that had gathered in the Africa Unity Square since morning.
The crowd chanted “Ngwena yahwina”, “Garwe”, “Baba Mnangagwa ndimi makavatuma kunyengetera”, when President Mnangagwa arrived.
There was a flypast by four MiG jets as the Police Band played the national anthem accompanied by a 21-gun salute.
The President then inspected the Guard of Honour mounted by the Presidential Guard before making his way into Parliament followed by service chiefs, and the hierarchy of the Judiciary led by Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza, who were clad in red gowns and off-white toupees (wigs).
Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda, Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda and Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi followed suit.
Cabinet ministers and their deputies joined in while Members of Parliament were led by Senate President Mabel Chinomona.
The traditional chiefs were led by Chiefs’ Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira.
President Mnangagwa began his State of the Nation Address (SONA) at 12 o’clock.
He began by welcoming parliamentarians and other invited guests before outlining his vision for the next five years.
As the President was addressing Parliament MDC Alliance legislators walked out.
This did not stop the proceedings since Zanu-PF has the two thirds majority and the requisite quorum.
They started chanting MDC Alliance slogans while outside but were ignored by people gathered at Africa Unity Square.
The gathering broke into song and dance when President Mnangagwa emerged from Parliament after delivering his speech.