Emmerson Mnangagwa will today deliver his annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) when he officially opens the Fifth Session of the Ninth Parliament and sets the Government’s legislative agenda for the coming session.
Mnangagwa will address a joint sitting of both the National Assembly and Senate at the imposing and magnificent six-storey New Parliament Building in Mount Hampden that was constructed under a Chinese grant in a show of strong bilateral relations rooted in close ties between the two countries.
An address to Parliament by the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is consistent with Section 140 of the Constitution, which reads:
“The President may at any time address either the House of Parliament or a joint sitting of both Houses.”
Further, Section 140 (4) which reads: “At least once a year the President must address a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on the state of the nation, and the Speaker and the president of the Senate must make the necessary arrangements for Parliament to receive such an address.”
Although the SONA is taking place at the New Parliament Building, Government spokesperson Mr Nick Mangwana said today’s event is not an official opening of the iconic new Parliament.
“His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa will deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the New Parliament Complex in Mt Hampden on 23/11/22 (today),” he said.
“Please note, this is not the official opening of the building. That will happen on a day to be announced in the future.”
Apart from the SONA, the 2023 national budget will also be presented at the New Parliament building by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, tomorrow.’s SONA is expected to touch on the accomplishments, difficulties, vision, and the legislative agenda of his Government in the wake of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament’s conclusion.
On the legislative front, there are several unfinished Bills and motions that have been scheduled.
This will also apply to the Electoral Amendment Bill, which was gazetted last week and seeks to relax voting laws by removing the demand for evidence of residency when registering to vote.
A few unfinished bills are the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill, Electricity Amendment Bill, and Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Amendment Bill.
In his speech, Mnangagwa is also expected to announce additional Bills that are intended to either further the government’s modernisation and industrialisation agenda, which will see an upper middle income economy by 2030 and be underpinned by the National Development Strategy 1, or to align laws with the Constitution.
Clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda, said the two events at the New Parliament Building are strictly by invitation.
“Members of the public are advised that the two events will be broadcast live on mainstream media, as well as on Parliament of Zimbabwe’s social media platforms.
“Members of the public will also be able to follow proceedings on giant screens that will be mounted in the Africa Unity Square.”
Festooned with breathtaking furniture, top-notch gadgets, and a motley of chambers, the majestic building is only but one of several other projects that the Second Republic has embarked on, and embodies Zimbabwe’s belief in constitutionalism through the separation of powers principle. -state media