Parly desperately looking for new home

HARARE - Parliament is desperately looking for new premises, with attempts to convert the City Sports Centre into a legislative chamber flopping because of space constraints.

Kennedy Chokuda, the deputy clerk of Parliament and two legislators Joel Biggie Matiza and Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, both of them architects, toured the City Sports Centre on Monday with a view to temporarily convert one of the rooms for use by Parliament.

This follows revelations that the new bloated Parliament of 356 members provided in the new Constitution is far beyond the capacity of the current august House built in 1921.

Seating problems are feared when Parliament resumes sitting next Tuesday for the swearing-in ceremony of legislators.

Ncube, however, indicated that there was not enough space at the City Sports Centre to accommodate the 8th legislature.

“We visited the City Sports Centre, we were looking for accommodation for parliamentarians as there is not enough space in our chambers given that the 8th Parliament is much bigger than the previous one,” Ncube said.

“We, however, could not secure anything as there is no suitable room there but we will continue to look for space.”

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma last week bemoaned the lack of a spacious parliamentary chamber to accommodate legislators drawn largely from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, which won a two thirds majority.

“We are going to have a Parliament made up of 356 MPs comprising of 80 Senators and 276 members of the National Assembly,” Zvoma told a news conference last week.

“The problem we are going to have is going to be in the National Assembly which can only accommodate 150 MPs so it means that some them have to be standing in the passage or seat in the alley during the sessions.”

The additional 60 seats brought through proportional representatives added to the congestion in Parliament.

Zvoma said they were looking forward to the building of a new Parliament site.

“We visited the Mt Hampden area to identify the place for the new Parliament and I hope that the building will be completed so that we have enough space,” said Zvoma.

The issue of building a new Parliament has been on the cards since 1980 with government having identified the kopje area as the site of the new Parliament but the project died a natural death, with government failing to raise the funds needed for the structure.

Cabinet last year approved the construction of a new Parliament building to be carried out by the ministry of Local Government and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo together with Parliament administration.

Several sites have been identified including Mt Hampden, Kopje and farmlands such as Oldberry Farm, Merryvale Farm, Muguti Farm and Nyabira Rural Service Centre.

Comments (3)

People perish because of lack of vision....In the 33yrs with an ever growing population, successive constitutional ammendments and delimitation commissions the penny didnt drop that instead of buying fancy cars, staying in hotels, useless foreign trips with a bloated entourage...there was a need for a purpose built Parliament. Rhodesia built her own westminister colonial parliament like the rest of the infrastructure for her own needs. Resurrect Ian Smith to build you another parliament because clearly those who purpot to lead have no clue.

Shame Maningi - 28 August 2013

Shame on clueless Mugabe and his group of old people. Our parliament has become an Old People's Home.

Exiled - 28 August 2013

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