Critics to China's aid "not fair:" Zimbabwean president
Zimbabwe's President Emerson Mnangagwa said that criticism towards China's aid is "not fair", when he was commissioning the construction of Zimbabwe's new parliament building in Mt. Hampden, 25 kilometers west of the capital Harare, on Friday.
Zimbabwean president Emerson Mnangagwa delivers a keynote speech while commissioning the construction of Zimbabwe's new parliament building in Mt. Hampden on November 30th, 2018. [Photo: China Plus]
Addressing a crowd of around one thousand people including Zimbabwe's two VPs, all the ministers, MPs, and diplomatic corp in Zimbabwe that attended the ceremony, Mnangagwa expressed Zimbabwean people's gratitude toward Chinese government for its consistent supports to various developmental programs in Zimbabwe.
The commencement ceremony of China-aided project of Zimbabwe's new parliament building is held in Mt. Hampden on November 30th, 2018. [Photo: China Plus]
"We commend the Belt and Road Initiative under which infrastructure development projects such as this one, are being undertaken in emerging economies. We've always thought that we are landlocked, but as a result of the Belt and Road Initiative, we now realized that we are 'land-linked', not landlocked," said the president.
Diverting from his original address transcript, Mnangagwa continued his speech to defend China's role in African countries.
"We are aware of certain people and corners of the world criticizing the role and assistance (from China). Let me assure you that such criticism is not fair," said Mnangagwa.
A glimpse of downtown Harare from the site of Zimbabwe's new parliament building. [Photo: China Plus]
"Because I meet these people in Beijing looking for money, and telling that 'I don't go there'. But I meet them there in Beijing. You may think of any capital in the western countries we meet them in Beijing looking for money," said Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwean president Emerson Mnangagwa breaks the ground for Zimbabwe's new parliament building in Mt. Hampden on November 30th, 2018. [Photo: China Plus]
This Chinese-funded six-floor new parliament building has a floor space of 33,000 square meters, with two congress halls and other facilities, which, President Mnangagwa hopes, could enable Parliamentarians to fully execute their legislative roles and further entrench democratic tenets in all facets of Zimbabwe society.
"They must understand that they have a critical role to play as they enact and pass laws that will propel the attainment of our national vision 2030. As such, hard work, diligence and commitment to duty must be a trait that is embedded in all Parliamentarians," urged Mnangagwa.
China's acting ambassador to Zimbabwe Zhao Baogang addresses the audience at the commencement ceremony of China-aided project of Zimbabwe's new parliament building in Mt. Hampden on November 30th, 2018. [Photo: China Plus]
"The honorable MPs will work harder for the new legislations and make greater contributions to the institutional building of this great country," said China's acting ambassador to Zimbabwe Zhao Baogang, who believes that working conditions for Zimbabwean legislators would be improved, and Zimbabwe as a country would benefit from that.
He also expressed great confidence in Zimbabwe's future under the strong leadership of H.E. President Mnangagwa.
"With strong leadership of His Excellency and hard work of your people, Zimbabwe will regain its past glory, becoming a middle income country, one of the major economies in Africa, an envy by many African countries," said Zhao.
The project will be carried out by the Shanghai Construction Group, one of the top 30 Chinese construction enterprises for 10 consecutive years. It is expected to be accomplished in 32 months from now.