By Leopold Munhende
SOME 260 recently-elected legislators today took their oath of office Wednesday, as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s full five-year term of office takes root.
MPs took their oaths in batches due to the limited space inside the Parliament chambers with most spending their time milling outside building opposite the Africa Unity Square as ZANU PF and MDC Alliance supporters cheered with songs and slogans.
Those who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com outlined a number of issues they will prioritise in the ninth parliament with devolution and some socio-economic issues at the forefront.
Proportional representation MP for the Thokozani Khupe-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC T), Priscilla Misihayirambwi said that she was glad President Mnangagwa talked about devolution during the election as it was necessary especially for marginalised communities.
“First one is to begin to see the practicalisation of devolution and, thankfully, President Mnangagwa is speaking very much (about that),” she said.
Misihairambwi also called for an extension of the Women’s Quota which expires after the current term of Parliament, saying there was still a lot to be done for women’s empowerment.
MDC Alliance’s MP for Harare East constituency, Tendai Biti said the 30 July elections had not “cured Zimbabwe of the illegitimacy brought by last November’s coup”.
“This parliament is being sworn in at a very difficult time in our country. We still face the huge challenge of legitimacy.
“We thought after the November coup the 2018 election would go a long way towards returning our country to legitimacy.
“But, on the contrary, the 2018 election has exacerbated the situation.”
Zanu PF’s Mazowe South MP, Fortune Chasi, said besides the fact that MPs had a duty to watch over the executive, he would strive to promote issues to do with women’s rights.
He promised that the ruling party would not abuse its two thirds majority in parliament.
Proportional representation MP under the MDC Alliance party, Thabitha Khumalo, said they were eagerly awaiting infrastructure development promised by ZANU PF in its manifesto.
Khumalo said she was worried by the fall in the number of women in parliament, adding that a remedy was needed.
“What I can say is that I will up my game and I think you are aware that the number of women in parliament has decreased again.
“So, it is a mammoth task for us to achieve the 50/50 representation proclaimed by the constitution, meaning to say something has gone wrong with in women representation and something has to be done to remedy the 50/50 agenda,” said Khumalo.
Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba, Goromonzi West MP Energy Mutodi and losing Makokoba constituency MP Tshinga Dube were also in attendance.