A UNIVERSITY don has said that Government should consider turning State House into a ‘living museum’ for tourism following Cabinet’s refusal to construct a new State House.
University of Zambia senior business development expert Mwenda Mupashi said yesterday that the buildings at State House are symbolic of governance evolution and that the building has deep connection to the history of the nation.
Cabinet this week declined to approve a Ministry of Works and Supply proposal on the construction of a new State House main administration building for use by the President and members of staff.
“There is no harm in the building becoming a living museum, meaning the President can work and live there but certain sections of the building can be used as a museum with artefacts, literature, photographs displayed to show how we have been evolving under the auspices of different leaders, and tours can be conducted,” Mr Mupashi said.
He said the monies meant for the project should all be channelled to enhancing the longevity of the current building for posterity to appreciate.
He said this is because State House has sentimental and historical value as a national property like other known age-old classic buildings such as the Capitol Hill and Buckingham Palace.
Mr Mupashi said there is need to increase the skill-sets among construction and maintenance engineers, botanic and animal scientists to spur creativity and turn State House into a global spectacle, reflecting Zambia’s political past and present.
“Constructing something new is the easiest, but we need to invest into a skills-set for historic preservation. The plants, animals and everything else at State House must have a national connotation to enrich both local and international tourists,” he said.
He said engineers and scientists must comprehend the sentimental historical value of the buildings for them to undertake engineering work with a social context of preserving history.
Mr Mupashi also proposed the introduction of a law to explain how ancient buildings should be managed and preserved.
“This is why our counterparts in Europe still have ancient buildings. When you look at the picture of London in 1922 and today, some parts look the same and it’s not because they don’t have the money to build new structures, but it is done for people to understand history. The outside may look ancient, but the inside is extremely modernised,” he said.