Blessings Chidakwa-Herald Reporter
Surface finishings on the New Parliament building in Mount Hampden have been completed for the larger part of the interior and exterior designs, with world class equipment and furniture set to be installed anytime soon.
This emerged during a tour by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Kindness Paradza and Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana yesterday with contractors hoping to complete the project during the first quarter of next year.
Zimbabwe’s coat of arms has since been emblazoned above the main entrance of the six-storey circular building with electrical tubing now complete.
Water and sewer reticulation systems have also been fitted with work on floors having started. Some window panes and glasses have been fitted while skimming inside is underway. The ceiling decoration is also in progress.
Deputy Minister Paradza said Minister Monica Mutsvangwa had tasked ministry officials to tour the project with particular focus on the media centre and report on progress.
“The architecture here is just world class and we are happy it is here in Zimbabwe. We are also glad that the Chinese have given us this grant to build such a structure.
“While we are here as the ministry, our main focus is on the media centre, which we want to house both local and foreign journalists so that whenever they are covering Parliament and other national events, they can use this facility,” he said.
Deputy Minister Paradza said the structure was going to have about three studios and also space for a workstation which would accommodate about 40 journalists including freelancers so that they could cover Parliament and other national events.
“We would want the studios to be equipped with the latest technology so that we are in tandem with others in the developed world,” he said.
Mr Mangwana said upon completion of the building, it was going to be the centre of the country’s democracy and this was in tandem with the Second Republic’s major thrust on infrastructural development.
“We are moving in the right direction as a democracy because we need a centrepiece which is right on top of the hill.
“The original idea was to have Harare here and it has indeed come, but the Government is building a smart city, not the chaos that we have now.
“We will be using the smartest technology so that everything that happens is modern as the President always talks of modernisation,” he said.
Mr Mangwana said the Second Republic was very much focused on infrastructural development particularly because infrastructure was an enabler of economic progress.
“So once you put the enablers in place it means we are creating jobs and we have created jobs for the future.
“When you go to the countryside, dams are being built, irrigation systems being put in place, roads being constructed. So much is happening in terms of infrastructures in towns, roads and bridges are being constructed.
“The cement companies are saying their demand is over 45 percent. People outside the country are getting lost because since they were here two years ago, things have changed.
“ There is so much infrastructure coming up,” he said.
Ministry of Local Government and Public Works acting chief director Engineer Henry Hungwe, who is supervising the project said the Chinese contractors were eager to see the completion of the project.
“Painting and furniture is supposed to come in very soon. We had anticipated to finish by July this year but because of Covid-19, we now hope to finish by the first quarter of next year.
“The civil works will commence once the internal works are complete so that we don’t disturb the works underway,” he said.
The project is being undertaken on a six-hectare stand on high ground in Mount Hampden, about 20 kilometres from the city centre.
Situated on a hilltop, the new Parliament building is a six-storey circular building co-joined between two and four part blocks, housing the two chambers.