GOVERNMENT is planning to build a new capital city in Mt Hampden, which falls under Zvimba Rural District Council, President Robert Mugabe’s home area.
Report by Everson Mushava
The new city is designed in the mould of the wealthy Sandton area of Johannesburg, South Africa.
The project is already underway at the site, some 40km west of Harare, along Old Mazowe Road, where construction of a new Parliament building to accommodate the country’s 210 MPs and 80 Senators has already started.
This is expected to be followed by the establishment of an affluent residential area, state-of-the-art shopping centres, hotels and government buildings.
The capital will also be home to critical government buildings such as State House, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Supreme and High Courts and several government departments. It will be the seat of government.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo yesterdayconfirmed the development which he said would give birth to a new modernised city at the scenic Mt Hampden.
According to Chombo, the site was where colonialists originally wanted to set up Harare before two emissaries sent to raise the British flag at the mountain lost their way and raised it at the Kopje (Afrikaans for an isolated hill), resulting in the construction of present-day Harare in the 1890s.
“The satellite city will be properly planned with residential houses, state-of-the-art shops, hotels and offices,” Chombo said.
“This will ease congestion in Harare, which has become heavily populated to the extent that facilities such as water supply are under pressure.”
Chombo did not disclose the source of the funds or when most of the work on the project would commence, but said his ministry already had the city’s plan.
“The site has already been identified and it is now up to the responsible ministries to start construction of the Parliament Building. Mt Hampden is a scenic place, that would give Parliament a nice home and, better still, Mt Hampden is not far from Harare,” Chombo said.
The minister said he would make sure that the new capital would have adequate supplies of water and services befitting a modern city.
“Government will make sure that the city has multiple supplies of water by setting up three to four water treatment plants near the city, unlike the current situation in Harare where treated water is pumped about 40km from the city,” he said.
Chombo said the water system for Harare would fail gradually if efforts to ease pressure from the overpopulated city were not done now.