HARARE – The construction of a new Parliament in Mount Hampden near Harare and the setting up of modern structures around the area will boost the economy, a Cabinet minister has said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said he was determined to ensure the fruition of what was agreed between President Mugabe and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping when the two leaders met in Beijing in August.
Minister Chombo was speaking at a dinner his ministry hosted for visiting Chinese engineers carrying out a feasibility study for the new Parliament Building last week. The feasibility study followed President Xi’s offer of a grant to construct a new Parliament for Zimbabwe.
“It gives us an opportunity to build a modern city, a 21st Century one, around Parliament Building, said Minister Chombo. It will be a city to blend with the new Parliament Building. We are friends from way back and it is the intention of our two leaders that the assistance that we are looking for towards the construction of Parliament Building can be realised.
Minister Chombo said the current Parliament building was old as it was built more than 100 years ago by the colonial regime.
Now we want to build a Parliament which does not belong to anyone, but to Zimbabweans, he said. “But more importantly, over the years, the number of parliamentarians has increased three or four-fold, more than the current Parliament must carry.”
The new Parliament will have an added carrying capacity of more than 500 legislators and is expected to ease space shortage after the number of legislators was increased from 120 to 270. Speaking at the same occasion, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe made the correct decision in marrying its new Parliament building with a Special Economic Zone.
A city is primarily where there is industrial production, he said. “The idea of marrying Parliament building with a Special Economic Zone makes sense, especially under Zim-Asset. This is a good opportunity for China to come and help, the first to help Zimbabwe to build the first modern city since independence. All the cities we have are inherited.
Mutsvangwa said China’s National Development and Reform Commission was coming to Zimbabwe to set up an office in Harare and help Zimbabwe be an economic hub. The NDRC’s functions are to study and formulate policies for economic and social development, maintain the balance of economic development, and to guide the restructuring of China’s economic system.
Head of the Chinese delegation Mr Zi Jun Zhang said their work would be guided by Zimbabwean culture and aspirations. “The design reflects the culture of Zimbabwe, he said. We will be guided by Zimbabwe’s culture.” The Chinese technical team will spend the next three weeks studying costs and other ancillary issues and will compile a report that they would submit to their Government.