The Chief Justice opens the Judicial Year. I think it is also in the same spirit that the Chairperson of the Presiding Officers, who happens to be you, should officially open Parliament. For avoidance of doubt, I have a picture on the third slide of the person who should officially open Parliament.
Third slide shows the picture of the Hon. Speaker, Advocate Mudenda.
That is the man who should officially open Parliament – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – The Constitution is very clear. Section 119 of the Constitution says, Parliament must protect this Constitution and promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe. So, Parliament must promote this Constitution. We have always cried foul as Parliament that the Executive treats us as second or ugly cousins from the village; it is because we are not standing our ground. We must stand our ground and tell the Executive that Parliament is an institution of the State on its own just like the Judiciary is an institution of the State on its own. The Executive is equally an institution of the State and none of these institutions must be able to extend its hand into the other. As Parliament, you must officially open Parliament.
I will go on to talk about the precedence in this country. There is the presidency. When I say the presidency, I am talking about His Excellency and his two deputies. After the presidency, comes the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice. When the President ….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Are you going to tell us the best practices where the Hon. Speaker opens Parliament.
HON. MARIDADI: I will, Mr. Speaker. As Shakespeare says, cease your admiration a while, I will be faithful – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Mr. Speaker, when the President is addressing Parliament, he says Madame President, Mr. Speaker; it should be vice versa. It should be Mr. Speaker, then Madame President because you are the Chairperson of Presiding Officers – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – That is enshrined in the Constitution. If you go to Schedule 6, Section 6 (14) and 4 (b), they are very clear on what should happen. Actually, the power of the Speaker is such that when something happens to the President, the Government must continue so that power is handed to the next person. The party from which the President contested must write a letter to the Speaker, informing him that we are nominating so and so as the next President. The Speaker must then cause the President to be sworn in. So, the Speaker is a very powerful person in the scheme of things to the country – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
In other Jurisdictions Mr. Speaker, for example the American scenario, there are three people who use outriders and police escorts. There is the President, the Vice President and the Speaker of Parliament. When we come to this place Mr. Speaker, we must have two outriders. When I say outriders, I mean those motor bikes with sirens which clear the road but what we see instead are Ministers with escort. Why does a Minister need escort? Ministers do not need escort – Hon. Prof J. Moyo does not need escort, Hon Chombo does not need escort. Escort must be a privilege of the presidency, which means the President and his two deputies, the Speaker of Parliament and maybe the Chief Justice and it ends there. Ministers must be able to just have a driver and an aide and they come to Parliament. No one is going to kill a Minister. If we wanted to kill Ministers, we would have killed them eight times over. No one will kill them. Actually, if Ministers are going to die, they will have killed each other and that is why I talk about common vision and unity.
Continued next page