Jan 31, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

China gifts Zimbabwe a modern Parliament

China has gifted Zimbabwe with a new, modern parliament building to replace the current colonial-era building, while Beijing continues to increase its influence on the South African country.

The imposing building covers an area of 33,000 square meters consists of a six-story office complex and a four-story building housing the National Assembly and Senate.

Three bridges on each floor connect the two buildings. The National Assembly seats 400 people, while the Senate Chamber seats 150.

It also has conference facilities, 15 committee rooms, staff office space and a car park. The office building has 600 rooms intended to house MPs and staff.

The new building was built by Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) and fully funded by the Chinese government as a “gift to the people of Zimbabwe Funded The Houses of Parliament is located in Mt. Hampden, about 11 miles from Harare city center where the Old Chambers are located.

SCG completed the buildings in 42 months, 10 months behind schedule, with the delays are due to the outbreak of Covid -19.

“There is no doubt that the new parliament building will become a landmark in Zimbabwe and even throughout southern Africa,” said Cai Libo, who SCG Project Manager.

He said the building would be handed over to the Zimbabwean government. “The project strongly supports democracy in Zimbabwe while enhancing the country’s image,” he said.

“This building is a landmark in Zimbabwe,” he added. “This is evidence of a solid friendship between China and Zimbabwe.”

China Aid funded the construction through a grant.

Also read:Clashes in China with Zimbabwean unions over “systematic abuse”

Zimbabwe plans to build new infrastructure near the new parliament to decongest the capital. It will include executive branch offices, judiciary, shopping and residential areas.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the new parliament building is a symbol of the “deep ties” between Zimbabwe and China.

“This is an amazing building made possible by a grant from the People’s Republic of China, showing the deep ties between the two countries,” said Ms. Mutsvangwa.

“This will empower the legislature to do its job , and as you know, they have three mandates, namely representative, legislative and oversight.”

The Parliament building is the second major infrastructure “donation” from China to Zimbabwe after Beijing built the country’s largest stadium in 1987.

The National Sports Stadium in the capital, Harare, seats 60,000 people, but was banned by the Confederation of African Football as a venue for international football matches due to poor maintenance.

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China is also upgrading the co untry’s largest thermal power plant at an estimated cost of US$1.2 billion. Kariba South Power Station, the country’s largest hydroelectric power station, underwent a $533 million refurbishment.

Zimbabwe, which has an external debt of $14.4 billion, is heavily indebted to China, the only economic superpower willing to lend to Harare due to its poor repayment record.

During the era of the late Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe introduced a “Look East Policy” after its economy was swept away by the isolation and the sanctions of Western countries due to alleged human rights violations and electoral fraud.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over the office from Mugabe in 2017 after a military coup.