Behold, the new city cometh!

The Sunday Mail

Tendai Chara

Once complete, the new Parliament Building, which is currently under construction in Mt Hampden, some 20 kilometres north-west of Harare, will be without doubt, a marvel to see.

An artist’s impression of the building paints a picture of both splendour and grandeur. It is similar in shape and form to the Great Zimbabwe monument, the ancient city upon which the country derives its name.

With a total floor area of 33 000 square metres, the new parliament, which is funded by the government of China, will be spacious and will replace the current parliament building which is too small to house the lawmakers.

An artist’s impression of the building paints a picture of both splendour and grandeur. It is similar in shape and form to the Great Zimbabwe monument, the ancient city upon which the country derives its name.

After delays, it is now evidently clear that the Government’s dream of building a state-of-the art and modern new capital city, is slowly but surely becoming a reality.

The idea of moving the capital city to Mt Hampden was mooted as early as 2012.

Sceptics initially questioned the timing of the construction of such a massive project as they argued that the Government must fix the economy first.

Undeterred, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, however, presided over the ground-breaking ceremony of the new building, marking the birth of the New City in the process.

The new parliament building will be one of the many monumental buildings that are set to be the major features of the much-awaited new capital.

Set on a vast expanse of farmland, the new city, which is yet to be given a name, will ease pressure on infrastructure in the current Central Business District.

A recent visit to Mt Hampden revealed that within a few years, the new Harare would have taken shape.

Massive housing development projects are currently under way as developers are taking advantage of the huge demad.

The new parliament will also have accommodation for legislators to avoid wasting finances on hotel bookings.

The New City has presented a lot of opportunities for investors and the local people.

The new city will also have the Supreme and High Courts, the Reserve Bank, upmarket suburbs, hotels and shopping malls.

A university, technology centre, schools, churches, hospitals and industrial sites are some of the major features that will transform the landscape.

A State House and official residences for the Speaker and Senate President will also be constructed.

It is estimated that the new city will cost $10 billion, with investment coming from Government, pension funds and foreign direct investment.

Sprawled on 18 hectares of prime land, the city will be able to accommodate more than a million people.

A preliminary map of the new city shows that it will encompass Nyabira, Mt Hampden and some parts of Mazowe, while bordering with Westgate on the present outskirts of Harare

Basing on the preliminary map, New City will be a complete stand-alone with its own water and sewage treatment plants.

Mazowe and Kunzvi Dams and four other smaller water bodies, will supply the new city with water.

As of now, the responsible authority for the area, the Zvimba Rural District Council is on record promising those that will settle in the area that it has plans to have its own source of treated water.

A model of the new city shows a development that will be solar powered and heated through biogas by recycling garbage and waste.

The construction of the city will lure more visitors and investors into the country.

Locals are set to benefit immensely from the setting up of the city, with timber traders that are operating along Lomagundi Road expecting their businesses to thrive.

Some of the downstream businesses that are set to benefit are the brick moulding companies, abattoirs and the residents of the flourishing settlement of Nyabira.

The nearby Prince Charles airport will likely get a revamp to match the establishment of the New City.

Resettled farmers from such surrounding areas as Lilfordia, Muzururu and Royden are set to immensely benefit.

Farai Mahosi, a farmer who specialises in horticulture, is itching for a day when vegetable markets will be opened in the new city.

“We get water from the Muzururu River and we are capable of producing throughout the year. Our biggest challenge has been the lack of markets. The New City will surely change our fortunes,” Mahosi, of Royden Farm, said.

Royden Farm is approximately 17 kilometres from the New City.

Challenges associated with urban development, however, await the new city.

The demand for land has resulted in land barons descending on the area, fleecing innocent home-seekers as they illegally parcel out land.

A number of illegal settlements are already sprouting around the new capital.

Urban planning experts maintain that a robust public transport system must be put in place to avoid the problems that the current capital city is facing.

Town planning expert, Mr Percy Toriro, said the new city must not rely on private public transport system.

“The new city risk falling into the same predicament as the current capital city. Like I said before, Zimbabwe is the only country and Harare is the only city in the region that entirely depends on a private public transport system.”

Mr Toriro said depending on a private public transport system will result in congestion, a huge demand for parking space and the damaging of roads.

Zimbabwe deregulated the urban transport system in 1992 to allow anyone with a large or small bus to ferry commuters.

Rural and urban planning expert, Mr Nyasha Mutsindikwa, has researched and written extensively on how Harare can ease the current challenges that includes congestion, overcrowding and the perennial water shortages.

Among the many solutions that Mutsindikwa suggested was the implementation of a dependable public transport system and meticulous town planning.

According to historical accounts, Mount Hampden was the original destination of the Rhodesian Pioneer Column. Hunter and explorer Frederick Courtney Selous renamed the Tsikwa Mountain Mt Hampden in honour of John Hampden, an English politician.