All is now set for the State of the Nation Address by President Mnangagwa at Parliament building in Harare, which is to be done simultaneously with the official opening of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament.
Zimpapers Digital gives you updates on these important events
10:30 -Proceedings start at State House where there will be a photo-shoot before the Head of State and Government proceed to Parliament in a magnificent Rolls-Royce.
At least 32 horses from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) will accompany the procession to Parliament.
11:00 – President Mnangagwa is now on his way to Parliament from State House aboard a magnificent Rolls-Royce vintage.
11:19 – President Mnangagwa has just arrived at Parliament building
11:21 – The National Anthem is now being sung accompanied by a 21 gun salute and a fly past.
11:23 – Outside Parliament crowds are watching proceedings from Africa Unity Square.
11:24 – President Mnangagwa is now inspecting a Guard of Honour mounted by the Presidential Guard unit.
11: 26 – Today’s address is the second by President Mnangagwa in his capacity as Head of State and Government following his election into office on July 30.
President Mnangagwa is expected to spell out the legislative agenda by outlining the Bills set to be presented in the coming Session.
11:31 – The opening of the Second Session marks the end of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament, which saw at least 15 Bills out of 30 being presented.
11:35 – Chief Justice Luke Malaba leads a procession of the judiciary into Parliament building followed by Speaker of Parliament, Vice President Mohadi and cabinet Ministers here present. Also in the procession are several legislators.
Also present are service chiefs, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe, civic society members, and captains of industry, among other dignitaries.
11:45 – Senate President Cde Mabel Chinomona leads a procession of the Members of the The Senate (Upper House) into Parliament Building.
STRUCTURE OF PARLIAMENT
In terms of Section 116 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Legislature consists of Parliament and the President. The President is part of the Legislature in his capacity as Head of State who holds the Public Seal and accordingly must assent to Bills passed by Parliament before they become law.
Section 118 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe states that Parliament shall consist of the Senate and the National Assembly. The Senate is headed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker heads the National Assembly.
Pursuant to section 135 of the Constitution, the Speaker of the National Assembly is the Head of Parliament.
The Senate is composed of 80 Members of Parliament while the National Assembly has 270 Members of Parliament. Cumulatively, Parliament has 350 Members of Parliament.
The Clerk of Parliament, appointed in terms of section 154 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is responsible, subject to the law, for the day to day administration of Parliament. (Read more on structure of Parliament here)
11:50 – Speaker of the National Assembly begin proceedings and says that the President will address a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate at 12 pm in terms of section 140(1) of the constitution.
At least 30 Bills were expected to be tabled in the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.
12:00 – President Mnangagwa begins his speech by acknowledging Vice President Chiwenga in absentia.
President Mnangagwa leads all to observe a minute of silence in remembrance of the late former President, Cde Robert Mugabe who died on September 6 2019 and was buried in Zvimba last weekend.
12:06 – President Mnangagwa asserts that Government is determined to support digital financial services to ensure financial inclusion and therefore appropriate measures are being taken to stabilize the cash situation in a way that will remove arbitrage behaviour which has lead to rampant abuse of existing transaction platforms to the disadvantage of the general public.
12:08 – He says recent manipulation of exchange rate by cash barons should not be tolerated. In the same vein, President Mnangagwa says
Government will unveil Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) Stock Exchange to unveil resources for them.
President Mnangagwa says Government has achieved a budget surplus and this has enabled it to meet demand for unbudgeted expenditure.
12:13 – President Mnangagwa also says the country was affected by drought and that Government has set aside $1,8 billion for production of food crops. He adds that in this regard only those farmers with a proven track record of delivering their harvest to the Grain marketing Board will be supported under the Command Agriculture programme.
12:16 – President Mnangagwa says modalities for duty-free importation of fertilizers and other agricultural commodities is underway through various facilities for both communal and commercial farmers.
He adds that local production of fertilizer however remains the long term solution.
12:20 – On mining President Mnangagwa says plans to make the industry a US$12 billion industry by 2022 will be unveiled soon. He says plans are also underway to make the country a transport and communication hub through the establishment of one stop border posts.
12:21 – He also says in order to address electricity shortages Government has restored the cost reflective structure and also increase imports. In the same vein President Mnangagwa says Government will soon restructure Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to eliminate corruption and improve efficiency.
12:24 – President Mnangagwa paid tribute to the Governments of the United Arab Emirates and India along with other partners for their assistance in revamping the country’s health system.
12:25 – He also said restructuring of state and publicly owned enterprises is ongoing with companies like the People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB) and the Grain Marketing Board undergoing full and partial privatization among other strategies.
12:30 – President Mnangagwa also says Government will continue with the re-engagement process and thanked SADC for the resolution at its last summit to declare October 25 the Anti-Sanctions Day.
12:33 – President Mnangagwa now turns to the legislative agenda and commends the ongoing alignment of laws to the constitution.
Some of the Bills to be tabled during the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament are the Public Finance Management Act Amendment Bill, The Police Act Amendment Bill and The Mines and Minerals Act Amendment Bill.
12:35 – President Mnangagwa also says Bills to enforce freedom of information and access to information should be expedited whilst Medical Aid Societies will now be regulated by the creation of a commission so that they stick to their mandate.
12:37 – He bemoans the slow space of movement of Bills in Parliament and asserts that such kind of behaviour should not be allowed to continue.
He urges Parliament to work for the betterment of people’s lives.
12:40 – President Mnangagwa ends his address by inviting those political parties shunning the ongoing political dialogue to be part of the process.
- Cash shortages – Government is conducting a gradual removal of arbitrage opportunities created through multi-tier pricing of goods by retailers.
- US$51 million set aside for the supply of various agricultural machinery under Command Agriculture.
- Government also working on a programme to avail animal dipping chemicals to improve general animal husbandry
- US$2.7 million grant from India for the upgrading of technology centers throughout the country.
- Zimbabwe recognized by the World Bank as having made considerable regulatory improvement in five areas measured on the ease and cost of doing business.
- ZESA to be restructured to eliminate corruption and improve efficiency
- Companies with own foreign currency free to procure own fuel through registered oil companies
- Government to roll out an electronic national fuel monitoring system to curb malpractices
- Public Enterprise Reforms
- GMB to demerge into strategic grain reserves and silo food industries
- National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ ) to be recapitalized to the tune of US$220 million
- New partnership programmes for Cold Storage Commission
- NetOne and TelOne to be privatized
- Partial privatization for Allied Timbers, POSB, ZUPCO, AgriBank and the IDBZ.
The Second Session of the Ninth Parliament is expected to continue with the re-alignment of various laws to the constitution. Some of the laws and bills under consideration include:
- The High Court Act, Labour Court Act, Magistrates Court Act, Police Act, the Public Finance Management Bill, Insurance and Pensions Act, Securities and Exchange Commission Bill, Mines and Minerals Amendment bill and the Gold Trade Act.
- The Precious Stones Act will be realigned to improve competitiveness of the local mining industry.
- The Petroleum Act is expected to pave way for the creation of an enabling environment for the exploration of natural gas and mineral oil.
- The Electricity Act will see imposition of stiffer penalties for vandalism.
- Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill, Data Protection and the Electronic Transactions Bill will regulate the technology environment in order to protect users.
- Pension and Provident Funds Bill to ensure compliance with international standards and protect policy holders and pensioners.
- Medical Aid Societies Bill to facilitate the creation of a Medical Aid Society Regulatory authority in order to protect members.
- Child Justice bill, Sexual Offences Bill and the Prisons and Correctional Services Bill are also expected to be tabled before Parliament during the Second Session.