The House of Assembly of Zimbabwe is the lower chamber of Zimbabwe's bicameral Parliament. It was the unicameral legislative body from 1989 until late November 2005, when the Senate was re-introduced.A lower house( house of assembly) is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Jacob Mudenda is the current speaker of the House of Assembly .
Current House of Assembly
The Current House of Assembly has 270 Members . Members of house perform legislative, representative and oversight functions. They are elected for a 5 year term which runs from the date on which the President-Elect is sworn in and assumes office. House of Assembly stands dissolved at midnight on the day before the first polling day in the next general election.
Speaker of the House
The Office of the Speaker is the highest and most important in the House. The Speaker occupies the foremost place and commands respect internally from among Parliamentarians and also externally from the public in general
Appointment of the Speaker
The election of the Speaker is provided for in the constitution of the country. The Speaker is elected by members of Parliament at the first sitting of a new Parliament. The Constitution says,When Parliament first meets after any dissolution of Parliament and before it proceeds to the dispatch of any other business, it shall elect a presiding officer to be known as the Speaker. The candidate for speakership should be a person who would have once been or is a current Member of Parliament. The person should not be a cabinet or Deputy Minister. Non members of Parliament can qualify for election as Speaker only if they meet the requirements to be elected as a Member of Parliament.
Term of office of the Speaker
The term of office of the Speaker is as long as the life of Parliament, which is five years. The Speaker can be re-elected at the end of the five years for another five year term. The constitution does not limit the number of times the Speaker can be re-elected
Duties of the Speaker
The Speaker is the presiding officer of Parliament and as such must act with both authority and impartiality. The Speaker's role in the House is to run the proceedings. The Speaker maintains order, puts questions after debate and conducts divisions (voting in the House). In maintaining order the Speaker interprets and applies the Standing Orders and practice of the House by making rulings and decisions. A decision of the Speaker may only be challenged by motion of dissent. By custom, the Speaker does not participate in debates. The Speaker is the mouthpiece for the House, conveying messages and addresses from the House to the State President. The Speaker is also responsible for upholding the rights and privileges of Members and the House. The Speaker has extensive administrative functions, being responsible for the overall direction of the Parliament. In this, the Speaker is advised by the Clerk of Parliament.
The authority of the Speaker is symbolized by the golden mace that is placed on the table of the House.
Under the 1980 Constitution, 20 of the 100 seats in the House of Assembly were reserved for the country's white minority, although whites and other ethnic minorities made up only five per cent of the population. These seats were abolished in 1987.
The 6th House of Assembly, created following the elections held on 31 March 2005, had a total of 150 members. 120 members were directly elected in single member constituencies using the plurality (or First-past-the-post) system. The President appointed 12 additional members and 8 provincial governors who held reserved seats in the House. The remaining 10 seats were held by traditional chiefs who were chosen by their peers. All members served five-year terms.
A law passed in 2007, to take effect after the 2008 election, expanded the House of Assembly to 210 seats and made it a fully elected body. The appointed and ex officio members were transferred to the Senate. The Seventh House of Assembly was opened on August 26, 2008.
Speakers since 1923
- Lionel Cripps 1923–1935
- Allan Ross Welsh 1935–1952
- Dr. Walter Alexander 1959–1964
- Arthur R. W. Stumbles 1964–1965 (Rhodesian Front)
- Arthur R. W. Stumbles 1965–1973 (Rhodesian Front)
- George Holland Hartley 1973–1979 (Rhodesian Front)
Zimbabwe Rhodesia 1979
- John Moses Chirimbani 1979 UANC
- John Zwenhamo Ruredzo 1979 UANC
Southern Rhodesia 1979-1980
- John Zwenhamo Ruredzo 1979–1980
Zimbabwe 1980 -2013
- Didymus Mutasa ZANU (until 1987.)1980–1990 ZANU–PF
- Nolan Makombe ZANU–PF 1990–1995
- Cyril Ndebele ZANU–PF 1995–2000
- Emmerson Mnangagwa ZANU–PF 2000–2005
- John Nkomo ZANU–PF 2005–2008
- Lovemore Moyo MDC–T 2008–2013
- Jacob Mudenda ZANU–PF 2013–present