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New Lawmakers to be Sworn in September

Tendi Biti, bottom right, Zimbabwe's opposition party Movement for Democratic Change secretary general at the 2008 ceremony. AFP
Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, says elected members of parliament are expected to be sworn in on September 3 amid reports that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) lawmakers will attend the ceremony.

There were conflicting reports that the party will boycott parliament after claiming that the recent general elections were rigged by Zanu PF.

Mr. Zvoma told journalists that while Saturday’s edition of the Herald newspaper reported that the swearing in ceremony will take place this coming Tuesday, it was no longer possible because of other important national and international events.

The events include the burial of national heroes Retired Air Commodore Michael Karadzai and Zanu PF founding member and former cabinet minister Enos Nkala, the Harare Agricultural Show and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly meeting which is being held in Victoria Falls and Livingstone, Zambia.

Mr. Zoma said Zimbabwe’s constitution clearly stipulates that people elected in a general poll should be sworn in as soon as possible.

“It stipulates that the president fixes a date, time and place (for the swearing in ceremony). He has already instructed that a letter be written to the Clerk of Parliament directing that the swearing in should be undertaken as soon as possible.

“So, we were given the leeway to say on what day are we able to do this. The initial thinking that we would do it next week is not practical because of the United Nations World Tourism Organization general assembly which officially starts today,” he said.
The MDC-T has indicated that its elected members of parliament will attend the event.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said its lawmakers will be sworn in as the party has decided to take up all elected positions.

But he noted that its members will not take up any government posts if appointed by President Robert Mugabe.

A lot is expected in the House of Assembly and Senate after the swearing in ceremony.

Mr. Zvoma said soon after being sworn in, the lawmakers will elect the speaker of parliament and the president of the senate and their deputies in elections that will be supervised by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The speaker of parliament and president of senate will take oath of office before Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.

The constitution stipulates that members of parliament must be sworn in not later than 30 days after the president has been sworn in.

It’s almost certain that the next speaker of parliament and the president of the senate will be drawn from Zanu PF which has a two thirds majority in both houses.

The last speaker, Lovemore Moyo, was from the MDC formation led by defeated presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.