President Robert Mugabe yesterday officially opened the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament with a call for non-tolerance to violence and a message of national healing and reconciliation.
MDC-T MPs, who applauded the President as he made the remarks, asked him to repeat the statement and President Mugabe obliged.
He repeated the statement and said: “I therefore, wish to urge you as MPs and leaders in your own right to preach the message of national healing and reconciliation amongst our people. Let us, therefore, in unison, say NO! to violence in all its manifestations.”
But, even as President Mugabe preached the gospel of tolerance and peace, Zanu PF youths following proceedings outside the House proceeded to beat up people they suspected to be sympathisers of MDC-T.
MDC-T MPs shouted “no to violence” at Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and other service chiefs as they walked out of Parliament after the President’s speech.
During his speech, President Mugabe set a very busy legislative agenda for MPs and announced at least 15 Bills would be crafted during the new session of Parliament.
Among the Bills are the Diamond Bill, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Restructuring Bill, the Land Developers Bill, the State Enterprises Restructuring Agency Bill, the Older Persons Bill, a Bill to promote the rights of women, the Public Health Amendment Bill and the Food Control Bill.
The President said two Bills to deal with the electoral process and the new Constitution would also be crafted.
“As part of preparations for the elections to be held thereafter, the Referendum Bill, together with the amendments to the Electoral Act agreed to by the negotiating teams from the three political parties in the Global Political Agreement and adopted by Cabinet, will be tabled before Parliament,” he said.
On the land reform programme, the President said the 99-year leases were being reviewed with a view to giving them collateral value.
He said the government was looking forward to full cooperation by all relevant corporate stakeholders to achieve win-win outcomes in the implementation of indigenisation policies.
“I wish to assure investors that their investments in the country will remain safe and to urge them to maintain compliance with the country’s laws,” he said.
Vice-President, John Nkomo who was recently rumoured dead was present in the House together with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the two Deputy Prime Ministers, Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who recently lost her husband, Retired Army General Solomon Mujuru, did not attend the proceedings.
Meanwhile, Parliament has adjourned to September 20 to allow MPs to ponder over the Presidential Speech before debating it.