By Daniel Chigudu
Harare West legislator Jessie Majome said President Robert Mugabe will be in violation of the country’s constitution when he officially opens the 4th session of the eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe.
According to a circular sent to the media by Parliament, President Mugabe will be officially opening the 4th session this coming Thursday (6th October 2016).
The President normally uses his official opening speech to lay the legislative agenda for the respective Parliament session he will be opening.
Speaking to OpenParlyZW in an interview, Honourable Majome said it is wrong for the President to open parliament adding that only the Speaker can set the legislative agenda.
“He should not be coming to Parliament to open it in the first place! It’s unconstitutional! Section 146 of the Constitution empowers Parliament to determine its calendar. The President had no business therefore opening it being the head of the Executive he’s unconstitutionally flouting the separation of posts doctrine.
“His official opening is as absurd as the Chief Justice officially opening Parliament or the Speaker opening the judicial year. The Speaker should officially open Parliament only he can legitimately lay out the legislative agenda so that it is not dictated by the Executive reducing Parliament to a rubber stamp.
“It’s a pity that the President is unconstitutionally coming to Parliament to do an unconstitutional ceremony and failing to come to do what the Constitution requires him to do that is issue a State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Being the MP who prompted him to do that last year, I’m dismayed that he failed to issue one (SONA) for this year, despite his key responsibility being defined in Section 90, to obey, defend an uphold the Constitution.
I’m sure apart from unconstitutionally laying out the legislative agenda he is going to rant about public protests while praising the military and the police, boast about some imagined economic growth, ramble about ZimAsset, all the while acting as if it’s business as usual yet the country is burning” she said.
Section 146 of the constitution talks about sittings and recess periods of Parliament and reads: Each house of Parliament determines the time and duration of its sittings, other than its first sitting and its periods of recess, but-
(a) the President may summon Parliament at any time to conduct special business;
(b) no more than one hundred and eighty days may elapse between the sittings of a house.
President Mugabe stunned the nation last year in September when he read the wrong speech at the official opening of the 3rd session of eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe. He instead read the same speech which he delivered during SONA.
Meanwhile, Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni says he expects President Mugabe’s speech to focus on the change that is needed in the country.
“The country is desperate for change – his address must attend to that call – nothing less will do,” said Manyenyeni.