Mnangagwa hails progress on Chinese-funded new parliament building

Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa holds a press conference at State House, in Harare, Zimbabwe on September 6, 2019. The current President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Managagwa, cut short his visit to the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, South Africa on hearing of the death of former President Robert Mugabe./Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday expressed satisfaction with progress that has been made in the construction of the new Parliament building in Mt. Hampden on the outskirts of the capital Harare.

FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa during a past press conference at State House. (Photo by Tafadzwa Ufumeli/Getty Images)

Mnangagwa was speaking after touring the building, his fifth tour since construction began in November 2018.

China’s Shanghai Construction Group is constructing the building which will replace the 100-seat building that was built during the colonial era and which has become small for parliament business.

The state-of-the-art parliament building is being constructed through a grant that was provided by the Chinese government.

Construction of the building was expected to be completed by March next year but is now due for completion in September of the same year following disruptions that were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There has been tremendous progress and achievements in terms of construction and finishing,” Mnangagwa said.

“Constraints came around as a result of COVID-19. I am sure they would have been far (more) advanced compared to where we are now. Arrangements have been made for technicians who had been out of the country to come back and I believe that from next year, construction would be at full pace,” he added.

The imposing six-story building, sitting on a hilltop, is the largest building funded by China in a single southern African country in recent years.

The building has a seat capacity of 650 compared to 100 for the current parliament building, and will also have extra facilities for conferencing, 12 committee rooms and adequate space for office staff and parking.

The new Parliament Building is a major infrastructure project that will also see the construction of a new city on Mt. Hampden.

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down progress at the project which is now at 59 percent completion.

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