Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday launched the construction of a new parliament, which is to be financed by the Chinese.
Officials say the current colonial-era parliamentary building in the city centre is too small to accommodate lawmakers. Reportedly built to accomodate 100 lawmakers, the current structure is used by Zimbabwe’s 350 parliamentarians.
The new 650-seater parliament is also part of plans government’s plans to establish a new smart city.
“Other facilities like banks, hotels will be built around this place,” Mnangagwa said adding that a “modern, smart city” was planned.
Gift from China
The imposing circular complex will be built over 32 months by the Shanghai Construction group at Mount Hampden, 18 kilometres (11 miles) north-west of Harare, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Mnangagwa said at the ceremony that China had provided a “grant, not a loan, to build a new parliament”, without giving a figure.
Mnangagwa took over from long-time ruler Robert Mugabe who was ousted by the military in November 2017.
He has vowed to revive Zimbabwe’s economy that has been in ruins for nearly two decades.
China has funded and provided loans for many infrastructure projects across Africa in recent years, ranging from roads and power plants to sports stadiums and government institutions.
Critics say China’s increasing sway over the continent undermines democracy and sovereignty.SUGGESTED READING: China rubbishes claims it bugged African Union HQ, Kagame says no big deal