The newly-elected Members of Parliament were sworn-in Tuesday following July elections in which President Robert Mugabe's party secured more than two thirds of seats in the country's electoral body, giving the party power to effectively decide on major state affairs.
The lawmakers pledged to craft policies that will help turn-around the country’s struggling economy and uplift the lives of the ordinary people back in their constituencies.
Members of the national assembly from Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations were sworn in Tuesday morning but lawmakers from the MDC parties left immediately before the election of Jacob Mudenda as speaker of parliament and Marble Chinomona as his deputy.
The two were not contested and were sworn in by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku in parliament chambers.
In his acceptance speech, Mudenda said he will be balanced and fair in the discharge of his duties.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu sobbed as he gave a speech to congratulate Mudenda on his election as speaker.
He said they both came from a poor province and grew up together, adding it was an honour to have him conferred with such a high post.
In interviews following the swearing-in ceremony, lawmakers from all the political parties said they will put aside political differences and work for the development of the country.
Mabvuku lawmaker James Maridadi of the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC formation expects robust debates in the national assembly.
“People voted us into these positions and therefore I hope that everyone will do what they want,” said Maridadi.
Gutu South’s Paul Chimedza said parliament’s focus must be on improving the welfare of the people.
Buhera South’s Joseph Chinotimba of Zanu PF said he expects all parliamentarians to work hard and improve the lives of the people. He said non-performers must be recalled.
Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo said parliamentarians from all political parties must work together and come up with policies that will change the lives of ordinary people for the better.
“Minister and Members of Parliament have to work with government to make sure that people’s lives are transformed,” he said.
Journalist-turned politician Supa Mandiwanzira of Nyanga South said though Zanu PF has the majority in both houses, he expects vigorous debate on all issues, adding he does not expect parliament to be used as a rubberstamp.
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said though his party has fewer lawmakers in the new parliament, it will continue to serve people even in the constituencies where they lost.
Meanwhile, placard-waving Zanu PF supporters gathered outside parliament building chanting and singing as the swearing process was taking place.
Zanu PF has 197 members in the national assembly while MDC-T has 70, MDC-N 2 and there is one independent.
In the Senate, Zanu PF has 73 members while MDC-T has 21 and MDC-N has 2. Chiefs and disabled persons are also represented, bringing the total number to 80.
President Robert Mugabe is expected to officially open the first session of the eighth parliament on September 17.