HARARE – National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda has written to a Chinese contractor responsible for building a new $46 million Parliament building in Mt Hampden that construction may start by August.
Mudenda said the delay in the construction of the bigger Parliament — initially slated to start in December — had been caused by government failure to install necessary utilities.
“I think they were trying to accommodate us as the Government of Zimbabwe, in terms of providing access roads, water and electricity.
“They cannot start construction if those three utilities are not in place,” Mudenda told a news conference on Wednesday.
“I know the contractors had indicated that (they would start) by December, but we have written to say that now we are going to complete the necessary infrastructure by the end of June, they should bring forward their construction dates to maybe around August.
“Why is it so? Those three infrastructures that have got to be put in place are a responsibility of the Government of Zimbabwe.
“The actual building is the Chinese’s baby; they will do that obviously under the supervision of our local engineers and architects so that we have a qualitative product that will be completed by the Chinese.
‘Not that we doubt their quality assurance, but we want to be satisfied that we are getting a product that will last for the next 100 years, 200 years.
“This building here is clocking almost 100 years and is still very intact. That’s the type of quality assurance that we must insist upon.”
The new building is expected to deal with congestion problems in the bicameral Parliament and is expected to accommodate about 650 Members of Parliament.
The Chinese government pledged to fund the construction of the new Parliament as a gift to Zimbabwe.
“The infrastructure work in terms of the roads leading to Mt Hampden is work in progress, should be completed at the end of this month,” Mudenda said.
“Another necessary infrastructure, there is water reticulation so that the availability of water at the building site again, that also is on course (and) should be completed end of this moth or end of July.
“The other utility . . . electricity, which should also be completed by end of this month.”