PRESIDENT Lungu is today expected to outline policies and economic development plans as he opens Parliament, the first time since assuming office in January.
Grandeur is characteristically expected at the highly anticipated ceremony that will push into motion the fifth session of the 11th National Assembly.
Before the address, it is expected that neatly clad police officers on horseback will escort the presidential car into the Parliament grounds.
President Lungu will, as per tradition, be accorded a 21-gun salute, inspect a guard of honour mounted by the Zambia Army, amid funfare heightened by cultural and traditional dances.
In his address to the House, President Lungu is expected to, among other things, identify some of the legislative measures Government intends to introduce during the coming year.
The House will be filled to capacity as diplomats, controlling officers and other dignitaries will be in attendance to listen to the presidential address, which will provide direction of the nation.
The presidential speech will be debated by members of Parliament (MPs) for about two weeks, and this will be done through the motion of thanks to the President’s address.
The last session of Parliament considered 22 bills, which were subsequently passed while one, the Constitution Amendment Bill No. 17, was deferred.
There were 839 parliamentary questions, seven private members’ motions and 50 ministerial statements that were debated on the floor of the House.
The House also considered and adopted 22 reports of the parliamentary sessional committees and select committees for ratification of presidential appointments to constitutional offices.
A total of 128 papers were laid on the table of the House by Government ministries and quasi-government institutions.
Topical issues that were debated in the last session included bills such as the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, which was deferred, the Referendum (Amendment) Bill, Mines and Minerals Development Bill as well as the Wildlife Bill and the Property Transfer Tax (Amendment) Bill.
Others were the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, the Urban and Regional Planning Bill, National Pension Scheme (Amendment) Bill and the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (Amendment) Bill.
Parliament also debated several committee reports and ministerial statements on the roadmap for the constitution-making process.
This sitting of Parliament is the longest as it also considers the estimates of revenue and expenditure for the country (budget).
The MPs will debate proposals by the Minister of Finance for the 2016 national budget, which will be presented next month.
In the last session, the House lost two MPs: Chifita Matafwali (Bangweulu), who died on May 29, and Humphrey Mwanza (Solwezi West), who died on July 3.
Thirteen by-elections were held with some old members retaining their seats and new ones getting elected.
Those who retained their seats are Kasenengwa MP Victoria Kalima (MMD), Masaiti MP Michael Katambo (PF), Senga Hill MP Kapembwa Simbao (PF) and Petauke Central MP Dora Siliya (PF).
Nine new members walked into the House. They are Mangango MP Rodgers Lingweshi, Mkushi- South MP Davies Chisopa, Vubwi MP Margaret Miti, Zambezi- West MP Christabel Ngimbu, Chawama MP Lawrence Sichalwe, Mulobezi MP Patricia Mulasikwanda, Malambo MP Jacob Shuma and Bangweulu MP Anthony Kasandwe, all for the ruling PF.
The opposition UPND won the Solwezi Central by-election under Dawson Kafwaya, who is serving in Government as North-Western Province Minister.
The PF now has 86 MPs, the MMD 34, UPND 32, FDD and ADD one each and there is one independent MP.
The Lubansenshi and Solwezi West seats are vacant but will be filled on September 24 through by-elections.
The Kasama Central seat is also vacant but the decision on the by-election is subject of court process.