The official opening of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe and State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Mnangagwa yesterday was held amid pomp and fanfare as the public crowded street corners, office windows and balconies to catch a glimpse of proceedings.
It was the second address by President Mnangagwa, who is the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) following his election in the July 30 2018 harmonised elections.
The sight of President Mnangagwa ensconced in the magnificent vintage Rolls-Royce on the streets of central Harare threw members of the public into frenzied excitement as they ululated while others called out his totem, Shumba Murambwi.
The President was accompanied by the Police Escort Mounted Unit whose procession started from State House to Parliament Building travelling slowly through the streets of Harare, drawing the attention of onlookers.
The programme started in the morning at State House with a photo session for the President and First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
The photo session was followed by the inspection of a Guard of Honour by the Police Escort Mounted Unit with a parade comprising 32 horses.
After the State House event, the procession used Josiah Tongogara Avenue before turning into Sam Nujoma Street.
The public cheered all the way, while capturing the procession on their mobile phones.
On arrival at Parliament Building, President Mnangagwa and his entourage were greeted by wild cheers from the crowd, mostly Zanu-PF supporters who had gathered in Africa Unity Square.
In Africa Unity Square, people waved placards inscribed: “We salute you President E.D”, “We stand by our President” and “No to unilateral coercion of our economy”.
There was a flypast as the Police Band played the national anthem accompanied by a 21-gun salute.
The President then inspected the Guard of Honour mounted by the Presidential Guard before making his way into Parliament followed by service chiefs, and the hierarchy of the Judiciary led by Chief Justice Luke Malaba who were clad in red gowns and off-white toupees (wigs).
Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda, Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda, Cabinet ministers and their deputies joined in while Members of Parliament were led by Senate President Mabel Chinomona.
The traditional chiefs were led by Chiefs’ Council president Chief Fortune Charumbira.
President Mnangagwa then delivered his address outlining the legislative agenda for the session and outlined his vision.
As the President was addressing Parliament, MDC-Alliance legislators walked out. This did not stop the proceedings since Zanu-PF has a two thirds majority and the requisite quorum.
In an interview, Broad Alliance Against Sanctions chairperson Mr Calvern Chitsunge said there was need for legislation that punished those people who called for sanctions against their own country.
Leader of Government business the House Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is also Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, welcomed the President’s speech saying the onus was now on everyone to implement what the Head of State had said.
“I think the President covered the full spectrum of what we intend to do and . . . the state of the economy at the moment.”