President hails Zim-Sino ties

CHINA has been the main anchor of major economic milestones that the Second Republic has registered including the construction of the iconic, magnificent and imposing new Parliament building in Mount Hampden on the outskirts of Harare, President Mnangagwa has said.

The Head of State and Government said there has been growing diplomatic and economic engagement between Zimbabwe and China over the past years resulting in more companies from the Asian economic giant coming to make huge investments in the country.

President Mnangagwa said this yesterday at a handover ceremony of the China-aided New Parliament Building Project in Mt Hampden where Beijing officially handed over the building to Zimbabwe.

During the ceremony, President Mnangagwa was given the symbolic keys to the building by China International Development Co-operation Agency Vice Chairman, Mr Tang Wenhong, a special envoy from Chinese leader President Xi Jinping.

Mr Tang and Local Government and Public Works Minister Winston Chitando signed agreements to mark the official handover of the building.

“As you may recall, it was during my State Visit to China in 2018, that His Excellency President Xi Jinping made a political decision to support four key projects in our country. These were through a concessionary loan facility for the construction of Hwange Unit 7 and 8 as well as another for the modernisation and upgrade of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, and a grant for the construction of this New Parliament Building. Additionally, support was availed for the NetOne Broadband Expansion Project. I am pleased to highlight that all projects have now been successfully completed and commissioned,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Over and above these projects, we have witnessed increased diplomatic and economic engagement between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China. In addition, our country has seen many more Chinese companies investing in various sectors of the economy. The emergence of quality export products from Zimbabwe, particularly citrus, entering the Chinese market is a welcome development. The milestones that Zimbabwe has realised since the advent of the Second Republic have been positively impacted by the support of His Excellency, President Xi Jinping and the people of China.”

The Parliament building, he said, was a key enabler for legislators to effectively discharge their duties.

“The New Parliament Building, which stands as one of the most magnificent and modern buildings in our country, signifies the excellent relations which exist between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China. The attention to detail and high standards of workmanship exhibited in this project, are indeed commendable. As I alluded to during the ground-breaking ceremony on November 30, 2018, the new building is an enabler for parliamentarians to fully execute their legislative roles in a more tranquil environment. This magnificent building is a transformational development from the congestion challenges that were being experienced in the previous Parliament Building,” President Mnangagwa said.

Zanu PF and China’s Communist Party, he said, enjoy good bilateral relations and the coming of the high level delegation sent by President Xi to officially handover Parliament building coincided with the ruling party’s annual conference being held in Gweru, Midlands Province.

“Your visit and the handing over of this Parliament Building is timely as it coincides with the 20th National People’s Conference of our party, Zanu PF, which officially opens tomorrow in the Midlands Province under the theme; ‘Towards Vision 2030 through Devolution, Industrialisation and Modernisation’,” said President Mnangagwa.

“The landmark Conference comes on the backdrop of our ruling party’s resounding victory in the 2023 Harmonised General Elections, which were transparent, free, fair and credible. The fact that a Special Envoy of His Excellency President Xi Jinping was the first to call on me following the conclusion of the election process, attests to the unwavering solidarity and support between Zanu PF and the Communist Party of China.”

He said President Xi was the first Head of State to call him after the August 23, 2023 harmonised elections to congratulate him followed by South African leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Our Zanu PF Government stands ready to strengthen strategic synergies and to share experiences with the People’s Republic of China and the Communist Party of China with regards to advancing rejuvenation and growing our economy. We welcome the readiness of the People’s Republic of China to increase high level exchanges to deepen relations and policy consultation programmes to help Zimbabwe realise Vision 2030. We look forward to practical co-operation in the pillars of agriculture modernisation, industrialisation, talent and skills development,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Honourable Members of the visiting Chinese delegation, we have noted that your country has developed based on its own resources and people. We are proud as Zimbabwe to have developed our own development philosophy, which recognises our peculiar realities, inspired by China’s development path. Here we say, Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo which, simply translated means ‘a country is built by its own people’.”

He said the handover ceremony also came at a time when Zimbabwe was joined by other Sadc countries on Wednesday to observe the Sadc Anti-Sanctions Day meant to call for the unconditional removal of illegal sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.

“We shall forever be grateful to the People’s Republic of China who, along with the Russian Federation, vetoed machinations by some Western countries who in 2008, attempted to pass a United Nations Chapter 7 resolution on Zimbabwe at the United Nations Security Council. Presently, the People’s Republic of China continues to stand with Zimbabwe against the illegal sanctions and opposes interference in our internal affairs,” he said.

President Mnangagwa commended the work ethic shown in the construction of the building both by the Chinese experts and their Zimbabwean counterparts.

“This landmark building is the pivot point around which the new City in Mount Hampden will be built. Furthermore, the interior and exterior architectural designs are a reflection of the rich cultural and historical heritage of Zimbabwe and its people. It stands as a defining symbol of our independence, sovereignty and democracy which was realised through partnerships and solidarity of progressive nations, such as the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

“The imposing structure is also a reflection of our nation’s aspirations and determination to build a better and more prosperous future. I am confident that this new Parliament Building will serve our nation well, now and into the future.”

President Mnangagwa commended Chinese Architects from SIPPR Engineering Group Co Ltd and the Project Manager, Mr Cai Libo, from Shanghai Construction Group, and project co-ordinator from the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works Architecture Ms Lydia Mugore.

“I call upon architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, artisans and other professionals in the building environment to take a leaf from this project and develop their capacities for the implementation of projects and programmes that meet international best practices. I, further, challenge you to rethink our approach to the construction industry and infrastructure development in general,” he said.

Earlier on, Mr Tang said the New Parliament Building was one of the biggest projects China had embarked upon in the Southern African region in recent years.

He said the design of the building was anchored on Zimbabwe and China’s cultures and their values.

“The builders overcame many challenges including Covid-19 but still managed to complete in record time. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and will bring a lot of opportunities to the city of Harare,” Mr Tang said.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, commended President Mnangagwa for his visionary leadership that has seen the construction of the New Parliament Building.

He said the keys to the building that he subsequently got from President Mnangagwa were of great significance.

“This key must open the doors to our capacity building as Members of Parliament so that we are able to enact laws that are qualitative as shown by this iconic, magnificent and majestic building,” said Adv Mudenda.

The event was attended by the two Vice Presidents, Cdes Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, several Cabinet ministers who include Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube among others.

Other senior officials included Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Martin Rushwaya, permanent secretaries, diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe, legislators both from Zanu PF and CCC and Zanu PF supporters among others.


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