By Gracious Nyathi
Claim: The new Zimbabwe parliament was built by the Chinese through a loan facility extended to the Government of Zimbabwe.
Verdict: INCORRECT. The state-of-the-art building, which houses the National Assembly and Senate, with many other amenities, was funded by the Chinese government through China-Aid.
The project manager for the contractor, Shanghai Construction Group, Libo Cai, told journalists during a tour of the US$100 million project in Mount Hampden that “The building can accommodate 1000 people. It was built through grants and not loans. The Zimbabwean government will not pay anything in return”.
False claims have been making rounds on social media, that the new parliament of Zimbabwe was a loan which the government will have to pay back over time.
The belief is that it is a “soft” loan and the Zimbabwean government is going to pay it back.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa while delivering the State of the Nation Address and officially opening the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament said the government had spent over $2,5 billion on infrastructure projects, which are key enablers to the achievement of targets set under Vision 2030.
“Given that these are key enablers to our national economic revival as envisaged under Vision 2030, we are determined to leapfrog the quality of our infrastructure across the country. To date, a total of $2,5 billion, which constitutes 34,5 percent of total capital development, has been set aside for various transport, water, public amenities, energy, irrigation, social services and other infrastructural projects.”
The President said the Hwange 7 and 8 Thermal Power Project, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Expansion, borehole rehabilitation and drilling, and the construction of the new Parliament Building were projects well on course.
The new complex, designed in the spirit of Great Zimbabwe, includes a six-storey office building and a four-storey parliament building. These are connected by three bridges on each floor.
Among other great features include a fountain borrowed from the majestic Victoria Falls, the country’s largest tourist attraction.
The National Assembly and Senate have a full capacity of 400 and 150 respectively, two committee rooms, 15 committee rooms, and seven-member lounges which are installed with advanced conference systems, placed from the ground floor to the third floor.