Friday, 20 March 2020

SCRAMBLE FOR LAND IN NEW CAPITAL CITY IN MT HAMPDEN


At the centre of a vast swathe of magnificent landscape of prime farming land north-west of Harare lies a mountain that dwarfs its lush green environs.

The rich red soils, have for years, been the hallmark of agriculture but the land use plan has changed.

Atop the mountain, a building is fast rising, brick and mortar after brick and mortar, reinforced by a medley of deformed iron bars. The pastiche of deformed iron bars is slowly swallowed from the foundation upwards as mixed concrete, brick and mortar firm into walls.

This is the new Parliament of Zimbabwe whose construction heralds the establishment of the new capital city.

On the foot of the mountain, a hotel and Casino resort is rising, its distinct Chinese insignia unmistakable; its posture and location showing the intent to capture a big market represented by the country’s leadership.

That the new hotel’s gate faces the entrance to the August House, is not coincidental.   It is a business decision.

A spitting distance from the Parliament, a new suburb, Sandton, is fast growing. Modern houses are rising very fast from every corner. 

The Government of Zimbabwe in 2012, announced its plans to build a new capital city in Mt Hampden. The new capital will have a Parliament, a Presidential palace, the Supreme and High courts, the Reserve bank, posh suburbs, hotels and modern shopping malls.

This has started happening.

Built in the shape of the Great Zimbabwe national monuments, from which the country derived its name Zimbabwe – the big house of stone — the Parliament building is a symbol of national power and exudes an aura of the country’s powerful history from which the modern State was constructed.

Sitting on 33 000 square metres, the new Parliament, which is funded by the government of China, will be spacious.

Today it is clear that the Government’s dream to build a state-of-the art and modern new capital city, is fast coming to fruition. 

As we write, fuel stations, real estates, individuals, corporates, diplomatic missions, banks, chain stores, hardware and brick moulding companies, among others have taken up land and the pace is very fast.

Added to this, are a university, technology centre, schools, churches, hospitals and industrial sites that have been approved and most of the space has been taken up, already.

This had triggered a stampede for land.

This is a clear indication that the power matrix is shifting from the current City of Harare to the new capital city. The new capital will be the nerve centre of governance and commerce.

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

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

The city being built at an estimated cost of $10 billion, from Government, pension funds and foreign direct investment and with the assistance of the Chinese Government, will accommodate about 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. 

According to the site plan, the new city will have its own water and sewage treatment plants, divorced from the current city.

The water will be drawn from Mazowe and Kunzvi dams and four other smaller water bodies.

Based on the current national administrative maps, the new capital city is in Zvimba district, which has made sure that its water supply is divorced from Harare City Council.

The new capital city is going to be essentially a green city as the model shows that it will be solar-powered and also heated through biogas produced by recycling garbage and waste.

Although it is the rainy season, there is a lot of construction work going on.

Many houses are complete others are near completion, while the brick moulding business in brisk. 

Brick moulding companies and water suppliers are having good business. The construction work is expected to increase as the rainy season ends.

The construction of the city will lure more visitors and investors into the country. Nyabira Business Centre is expected to expand into a big service centre as the capital city grows.

The nearby Charles Prince Airport will benefit and have a facelift as planes bring traffic to the new city.

Resettled farmers from such surrounding areas as Lilfordia, Muzururu and Royden are set to benefit from supplying produce to the city. Herald

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