Most of the government business will move to Mt Hampden which will develop into a new modern city once construction of the 650-seat multi-million new Parliament building is completed, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said today.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the new complex will be a catalyst for development in area and all the three arms of the State- the executive, the judiciary and the legislature- will be housed there.
“There will be other entities and structures supporting the legislative structure. The judicial cluster, and then the executive cluster will be relocated to the area – some ministries will be housed here including finance, justice …. Other facilities like banks, hotels will be built around this place,” the President said.
“Modern residential areas will also be built. Developers must come on board and develop a world class city …if they do not take advantage, foreign investors will come and benefit from long-term opportunities. We want a modern, smart city to be constructed here.”
The new complex is generally regarded as a white elephant as Parliament has only 350 members at the moment, who some believe are too many for a population of about 16 million.
The present building has, however, become too small as it was built for 100 members.
Zimbabwe had 100 seats at independence with 20 reserved for whites. White reserved seats were scrapped at the end of 1987.
The National Assembly currently has 270 members, 210 elected directly and 60 by proportional representation.
The Senate has 80 members, making a total of 350.
Mnangagwa lamented the absence of some legislators at the ground breaking ceremony and them to be accountable to the people individually and collectively as they represent the people that elected them.
“All parliamentarians have a critical role to play in propelling the national vision through hard work and diligence to duty,” he said.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change legislators have boycotted functions presided over by Mnangagwa because they do not recognise him as the President.
Last week, they were forced out of Parliament when they refused to rise when he walked into the House to listen to the 2019 budget speech presentation by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube.
The MDC is, however, calling for dialogue with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to form a national transitional authority to bring back legitimacy.
Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba, however, said there would be no dialogue until the MDC recognises Mnangagwa as the country’s President.