ED retains colonial bling for Parly State opening

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday presided over the State Opening of Parliament in an event full of pageantry, royal stagecraft and tradition — the kind that deposed former dictator Robert Mugabe did best.

Just like his predecessor, Mnangagwa presented a fascinating or rather made important the ceremonial occasion of the official opening of the ninth Parliament, staging a lavish ceremony amid high State security presence.

Mnangagwa arrived to set the legislative agenda for the coming session in a gleaming black vintage Rolls Royce once used by Lord Soames, the last governor of Rhodesia prior to the country’s independence in 1980.

His long and colourful procession from State House arrived amid blaring music and the wailing sirens.

Accompanied by soldiers and escorted by mounted policemen dressed in the 1890-style uniform of the British South Africa Police, complete with pith helmets, Mnangagwa arrived amid pomp and fanfare in his own carriage.

The 76-year-old travelled from State House to the Parliament building in a royal procession to perform the opening which started around 10 am.

The official opening of Parliament was a symbolic reminder of the historical relationship between the British colonial masters and the Zimbabwe government, and includes a military parade accompanied by unprecedented British splendour synonymous with a royal celebration.

Scenes at the opening of the 9th Parliament

Hordes of youths, women and members of the apostolic sect members sang “ED Pfee Ngwena hapana kwamunoisa.”

Some poked fun at the main opposition MDC’s bid to unseat the former revolutionary party from power since the end of colonial rule 38 years ago.

Some visibly drunk Zanu PF women tried to outdo each other, as they vigorously shook their ample posteriors and bodacious breasts.

The women dazzled the crowd with their breast shaking contest.

People who were entering Africa Unity Square were thoroughly frisked by State security agents.

Soldiers and security agents were also deployed at different points, closely monitoring the proceedings. 

After his arrival, Mnangagwa inspected a guard of honour mounted by Zimbabwe National Army presidential guard.

Earlier on, the national anthem was played simultaneously with a fly past by Air Force of Zimbabwe with the ZNA firing a 21 gun salute whose booming sound reverberated along Africa Unity Square and echoed among buildings.

In the Chambers, MDC MPs walked out as soon as Mnangagwa walked in.

MDC MP's walk out of Parliament

Mnangagwa spent a few minutes reading his speech before leaving.

Delivering his Sona, Mnangagwa said it is time for everyone to put shoulders to the wheel to deal with the country’s economy, which has been experiencing a downward spiral for nearly two decades.

“The specific economic reforms as enunciated in the 2018 National Budget statement shall be firmly adhered to in pursuance of my government’s development agenda.
Government welcomes short-to-medium term credit financing on the recent offer of $1,5 billion economic stabilisation fund by the Afreximbank, is indeed a welcome gesture.

“Government is stepping up implementation of circular specific easy-of-doing business reforms,” Mnangagwa said.

He spoke as the country is facing serious economic and social problems that include cash and fuel shortages, price hikes and outbreak of cholera, which has so far claimed 30 lives.

Nearly 90 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed owing to the closure of many industries, but Mnangagwa said the government will work towards improving the people’s lives as promised in the run-up to the July 30, 2018, harmonised elections.

“My government is very conscious of the challenges facing our country’s economy, great effort will be put towards increasing productivity and capacity utilisation across all sectors, enhancing foreign currency earnings, reducing country risk perception, improving service delivery, drastically reducing the budget deficit and ensuring steady economic growth for our country.

“It is pleasing to note that the president in this new era has rekindled a lot of goodwill and hope for economic recovery both domestic and internationally. We must build on this foundation as we forge ahead for a better economic future for our nation,” he said.


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