A proposal by the leadership of Ghana’s parliament to build a new 450-Seater parliamentary facility has caused public outrage nationwide.
The project which is estimated to cost $200million has faced serious opposition from the media, members of the general public as well as some famous politicians, resulting in a campaign #dropthatchamber.
Many have suggested that the sum should rather be directed towards projects that will provide people with employable skills and social amenities.
However, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu(MP) has insisted there is justification for the new chamber saying the new chamber would among other things allow the Speaker to see all MPs clearly as pillars in the current chamber prevent the Speaker from seeing some 22 MPs.
There was also drama in parliament on Friday July 4, as 3 protesters were arrested for chanting “drop that chamber” from the public gallery when parliamentary proceedings were ongoing.
Meanwhile the opposition party the NDC has also released a statement condemning the plans by the government.
Read Below A Copy Of Their Statement
STATEMENT BY NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS ON PROPOSED $ 200 MILLION PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has learnt of plans by the Akufo-Addo government and the Parliamentary Service Board to construct a $200 million,450-seater Parliamentary Chamber with auxiliary facilities.
The NDC wishes to state unequivocally, that it is opposed to this profligate spending at a time of great distress for the Ghanaian people. Despite incremental gains in the development of the country, many of our people live in harrowing conditions and are deprived of the basic necessities of life.
In the 21st Century, over 20% of Ghanaians live without potable water and are compelled to share very dirty and infested water with animals. About 16% of our people are without access to electricity and sleep in darkness.
There remain many roads that require urgent attention because of their deplorable state. School children still study under trees or are compelled to study in dilapidated structures.
Close to three million Ghanaians live below the poverty line and cannot afford three square meals a day.
It would be unconscionable in the face of these challenges for President Akufo-Addo to spend $ 200 million on a Parliamentary Chamber at a time when one already exists and is serving the needs of Parliament. Parliament only recently had the Job 600 project undertaken to provide decent offices for MPs. We are unable therefore to appreciate the basis upon which a new chamber should be built.
We demand an immediate cessation of plans to undertake this project. National resources must be channelled into projects and expenditure that have a direct bearing on the lives of the people not grandiose and prestige projects of doubtful relevance.
We commend all Ghanaians who have risen up and condemned the recklessness of the Akufo-Addo government in this matter and expressed, with a collective voice, their opposition to this needless and wasteful expenditure.
President Akufo-Addo must learn from the example of the NDC that invested heavily in education, health, housing, communications, water, roads transportation and other sectors which brought relief to the people of Ghana. He must not subject the public purse which he promised to protect.
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah
General Secretary, NDC
By Komla Addo