By Nyemudzai Kakore
Construction of the new Parliament Building in Mt Hampden is expected to commence soon after China identified a contractor, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has said.
Adv Mudenda said construction would be completed between 18 and 24 months.
Addressing the media after a courtesy call by outgoing Chinese Ambassador Huang Ping last week, Advocate Mudenda said the infrastructure required to start the project was in place. Ambassador Huang paid the courtesy call to say goodbye to Parliament at the end of his term of office in Zimbabwe.
“More exciting for Parliament is the assurance by His Excellency the Ambassador that the contractor has been identified and approved by the government of China to come to Zimbabwe and construct the new Parliament of Zimbabwe at Mt Hampden,” said Adv Mudenda.
“As Government, we have completed the civil works and other infrastructure such as new roads, electricity supply and water reticulation. The infrastructure required to start the construction of the Parliament is in place.
Adv Mudenda said he was also excited that President Mnangagwa was addressing glitches that had been stalling the implementation of several other projects. He hoped Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube would find funds to pay debts Government owes the Chinese government to accelerate the implementation of mega projects.
Adv Mudenda thanked Ambassador Huang for the number of projects he was able to complete during his tenure.
“During his stay here, we witnessed a number of important projects that he was able to push in terms of implementation. One outstanding project that comes to mind is the Kariba South Power Station, which he advised me is now producing 300 megawatts of electricity. This will go a long way in ensuring that we do not experience blackouts in our towns, industry and homes.
“The other project that has been signed between our Government and the Chinese government is for improving the Hwange Stage 7 and 8 power generation. It was commissioned by His Excellency President Mnangagwa just before we went into our elections.
Ambassador Huang said he was hoping that more projects would be financed in Zimbabwe to realise President Mnangagwa’s vision of Zimbabwe becoming a middle income economy by 2030.
He congratulated Adv Mudenda on his re-election as the Speaker of Parliament.
“I am very happy with the results. Politically, our traditional good relationship has been upgraded to comprehensive strategic partnership and cooperation. This is the highest political positioning of China’s foreign relationship with Zimbabwe.
“Economically speaking, we have seen the increase in trade and investment especially in completion of big projects.”