The incoming Child Parliament will be sworn into office today by President Robert Mugabe at the parliament building. The new president, Samuel Nyarenda a Form Three student at Mazowe Boys High School in Mashonaland Central province, was elected after garnering 48 votes, beating nine other contenders in a poll conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in Harare.
Tatenda Maramba from Masvingo province was voted Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs while Otis Mashayamombe from Manicaland became the other Vice President and Minister of National Healing and Reconciliation.
Fungai Makuyana from Mashonaland East province was declared winner for the post of Speaker of the National Assembly after obtaining 33 votes while Tinayeishe Nyota from Harare province was elected Child President of the Senate with 23 votes.
The following chairpersons of Portfolio Committees were also elected:
Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment — Bukhosi Moyo (Bulawayo).
Education, Arts, Sports and Culture – Samuel Tembo (Matabeleland North).
Health and Child Care – Kudzaishe Mwanza (Mashonaland West)
Public service, Labour and Social Welfare – Chengetai Sibanda (Midlands)
Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development – Cathy Zingani (Matabeleland South).
The Children’s Parliament is a mirror of the senior structures and consists of the Child Senate and the Children’s National Assembly with representation from each province and four seats reserved for children with disabilities.
Representatives are elected by secret ballot after they impress their peers with their public speaking abilities. Interested candidates in form three and five from all secondary schools in the country debate around the current Day of the African Child theme.
The speakers can use any of the official languages of the country.
The parliamentarians remain in office for one year and are not eligible for re-election.
Meanwhile, some of the outgoing child parliamentarians had a chance to air their views to their senior counterparts at Rainbow Towers on Thursday in a discussion on how to end child marriages and other burning issues.
The representatives raised concerns about the country’s moral fibre saying that cultural and religious practices need to be aligned with children’s
They also urged peers to take responsibility so as to grow into principled adults and not waste their youth and spoil their future with drug abuse and indulgence in sex.