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Pomp and ceremony as new MPs occupy Parly



ON a warm Thursday morning, a festive atmosphere enveloped the old Parliament Building as newly elected lawmakers queued to get into the bus that would take them to the Chinese-built magnificent Parliament Building perched on a hill at Mt Hampden, 25 kilometres northeast of Harare.


At first glance, one would be forgiven for thinking that the honourable members who were in queues to board buses to Mt Hampden were from the ruling Zanu PF only.

Some onlookers could not reconcile the CCC’s loud complaints of electoral theft with the animated excitement which engulfed the opposition MPs at the swearing-in ceremony.

There was no sense of discontent among all of those who threatened to boycott the ceremony in solidarity with their leader, Nelson Chamisa, who lost the just-ended general elections that were marred by illegalities and condemned by many observer missions.

The newcomers exuded enthusiasm, but CCC legislators who pitched up in their yellow neckties were told they must remove the accessories if they harboured any hopes of taking the oath of office.

They probably did not follow parliamentary proceedings in the aftermath of the 2022 by-elections when Murisi Zwizwai and nine other opposition MPs unsuccessfully took Parliament and Speaker Jacob Mudenda to court over the ban on yellow ties.

Willard Madzimbamuto, Darlington Chigumbu and Donald Mavhudzi were among the MPs that walked into the house after taking off their yellow ties while youth quota MP Evidence Sibanda was initially told she could not enter Parliament with her yellow handbag.

The new crop of MPs was excited this week. They were granting interviews, before senior party officials whispered in their ears to tone it down.

Of note was Sunningdale MP Maureen Kademaunga who was either in front of cameras or had journalists pestering her for interviews.

Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi, the man who defeated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya, could have been the rockstar MP, but he declined all requests to entertain media interviews.

The instruction to decline media interviews was issued strategically to avoid further confusion in the CCC camp.

Before 7 September 2023, the predominant position was that the CCC was rejecting the election in toto, meaning even the local authority and National Assembly results were flawed.

A week later they called for fresh elections to correct the mistakes of the 23-24 August polls.
A week later, MPs and councillors were sworn-in across the country.

Such inconsistencies would have cost them if an MP without media acumen had entertained interviews from journalists.

After taking the oath of office, the MPs were took turns to take pictures in the magnificent new building.

Social media was teeming with updates posted by the newly sworn in MPs.

Harare West MP Joana Mamombe tweeted a picture taken by the ministry of Information with the caption: “So help me GOD”.

CCC youth quota MP for Harare, Takudzwa Ngadziore, at 24 probably the youngest legislator in Zimbabwe today, could barely hide his joy, posting on Facebook: “And when the time is right, the Lord will make it happen. My wish is to see a better Zimbabwe for everyone.”

Onlookers pondered whether it was a continuation of the party’s strategic ambiguity, or perhaps just collecting their just rewards for working hard in the recent polls.

One of the reasons raised for the opposition party for not filing a Constitutional Court challenge  of the election results was that the “captured” courts would find a glorious opportunity to validate the flawed poll.

But there is no greater validation of an electoral process than the voluntary taking of an oath of office.

Hopefully, the new faces will live up to their big promises and fill the shoes of workhorses like Tendai Biti, Settlement Chikwinya, Dexter Nduna, Innocent Gonese and Joseph Chinotimba.

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