Speaker of the National Assembly
In terms of section 135 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe of 2013, the Speaker of the National Assembly is the head of Parliament and in the exercise of his or her duties is guided by Standing Orders, the Constitution of Zimbabwe, other statutes and parliamentary practices. The person occupying the office of the Speaker is a person of integrity and commands respects both internally from amongst Parliamentarians and officers of Parliament and externally in government and the public in general.
Appointment of the Speaker
The election of the Speaker of the National Assembly is provided for in section 126 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The Speaker is elected by Members of the National Assembly in a secret ballot at the first sitting after a general election. The election is conducted by the Clerk of Parliament under the supervision of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. To qualify to be Speaker, one should have served as a Member of the National Assembly or qualify to be elected to the National Assembly. The person elected as Speaker of the National Assembly before commencing his or her duty should take an oath of loyalty and office before the Chief Justice or the next most senior judge. The current Speaker of the National Assembly is Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda.
The Term of Office of the Speaker
In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe upon election, the term of Office of the will end on a day the National Assembly first meets after a general election. The Speaker, therefore continues to hold office even after the dissolution of Parliament. The constitution does not limit the number of times the Speaker can be re-elected and as such the Speaker can be re-elected as long as he or she still qualifies for the office.
Duties of the Speaker
The Speaker presides over the sitting of the National Assembly and any joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate. In his or her absence, the Deputy Speaker presides over the sittings of the National Assembly and in the absence of both, a Member elected by the House. The Speaker is the mouthpiece for the House, in conveying messages and addresses from the National Assembly to the State President. The Speaker is also responsible for upholding the rights and privileges of Members of the National Assembly. He or she is the Chairperson of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders and co-chairs the joint committee of the Business of the House Committee and a similar Committee in the Senate.
The Deputy Speaker and Chairperson of Committees
The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly elected from among Members of the National Assembly on the first sitting of the National Assembly after a general election as provided in section127 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The election is conducted in the same manner as that of the Speaker of the National Assembly and such a person must take oath of loyalty and office before the Chief Justice of the next most senior judge before assuming duty. He or she is also designated the Chairperson of Committees and in his or her capacity as Chairperson of Committees, chairs proceedings in the Committee of the Whole House whenever the National Assembly dissolves into a Committee of the Whole House during the Committee Stage of Bills, or for purposes of consideration of the adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on bills and statutory instruments or for proceedings on the main estimates of expenditure.