Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially launched the construction of the new 650-seat Parliament Building in Mt. Hampden, nearly 20 kilometers outside Harare.
The building, expected to be ready no later than mid-2021, is being constructed by the Shanghai Construction Group using a roughly $98 million grant from the Chinese government, the Zimbabwe Herald reported Dec. 2.
The construction of the building is expected to solve the space challenges at the current location, which has become too small for the 350 legislators.
The new building is part of government’s wider plans to establish a new city in Mt. Hampden, where all three arms of the State will be housed.
In his address before he broke the ground and laid the foundation stone, Mnangagwa said the new Parliament would enhance the country’s democracy.
“This infrastructure will enable parliamentarians to fully execute their legislative roles and further entrench democratic tenets in all facets of our society,” he said.
Mnangagwa said parliamentarians had a critical role in the attainment of the country’s Vision 2030 initiative, which calls for hard work and dedication to duty.
“I urge all parliamentarians to understand that they have a critical role to play as they enact and pass laws that will propel the attainment of our national Vision 2030,” he said. “As such, hard work, diligence and commitment to duty must be a trait that is embedded in all parliamentarians. In the Second Republic, non-attendance of meetings and dereliction of parliamentary duty should not be tolerated.”
Mnangagwa said the law was an instrument of development that should facilitate and promote development and urged legislators to demand urgency in the pace of various legislative reforms that were being implemented.
“In addition, MPs must be accountable to the people both individually and collectively, as they have the onerous burden to truly represent the people that elected them into office,” he said. “I call upon all citizens to account for all MPs with regards to their activities in Parliament and legislative agenda.”