Constitution sets rules for incoming Parliamentarians

via Constitution sets rules for incoming Parliamentarians by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

Incoming Parliamentarians – set to be sworn in on 3 September 2013 – will find themselves operating under a new rule book given that the new Constitution is now fully in force according to the Veritas Bill Watch report of 27 August 2013.

Despite having been postponed from the initial date of 27 August, the new date for the swearing in still complies with section 145(1) of the Constitution, which states that the first sitting of Parliament after a general election must “not be later than thirty days after the President-elect assumes office”.

Under the new rules set out by the Constitution, the annual Presidential proclamations that marked the beginning and end for the former annual Parliamentary “sessions” are no longer provided for.

Instead the two Houses of Parliament – apart from the first sitting after a general election – will decide for themselves when they will sit and when they will recess with a stipulation that they do not go into recess for more than 180 days.

Under the Constitution, sections 146 and 140, the President, does, however, have the power to summon Parliament to meet at any time “to conduct special business”, and must at least once a year address a joint sitting of both Houses on “the state of the nation”.

Furthermore, MPs in both Houses of Parliament are required within thirty days of their election, to relinquish any public office they were holding when elected as outlined in Section 129(1)(h) of the Constitution, which stipulates that:

“ If when elected a member was a “public officer” [e.g. a serving member of the Public Service or the uniformed services or the holder of any other paid office in the service of the State] or a member or employee of a statutory body, a Government-controlled entity, a provincial council or a local authority, he or she must relinquish that office, membership or employment within 30 days of being declared elected.”

Consequently, failure to relinquish will entail automatic and immediate forfeiture of an MP-elect’s Parliamentary seat.

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    Love to see if this is enforced-some members will be required to give up the gravy train!