Parliament has finally #DroppedThatChamber?

Ghanaians on social media have in the past week agitated against plans by the leadership of Parliament to construct a new chamber.

Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Ocquaye

The proposed chamber, estimated to cost the taxpayer $200m is expected to start at the end of the year, Sir David Adjaye, the architect of the design had said.

However, this project hasn't gone down well with a lot of the populace due to the rising cost of living, challenges in the educational sector, lack of basic amenities in numerous communities across the country as well challenges in the health sector.

They contend there are important priorities the government has to focus on than to spend such a huge amount on a new parliamentary chamber hence the creation of a hashtag #DropThatChamber.

Despite this huge unpopularity of this project, the majority leader of the house, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu has defended the project vigorously on various media houses within the last week.

He said the distance between the majority MPs and the minority MPs is too short and a minister can easily throw a blow or slap another minister when things get heated.

The Suame Member of Parliament also said there are so many MPs who sit beside the column who cannot be identified by the speaker. They cannot catch the speaker’s eye so even when they get up, the speaker cannot identify them.

Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu also claim Parliament as an institution since Independence has not had any dedicated facility and it's the only arm of government that has not had its own edifice.

But it seems the uproar online and among some civil society organisations have paid off as the Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Kate Addo has disclosed that the idea has been shelved.

In an interview with Accra based Peace FM, she said: "Parliament is aware of the concerns in the public space. Parliament represents the people and therefore has to be mindful of the people’s concerns."

"And so because of that, everything is on hold. The board will meet today and they will come out with a decision on the matter but we expect that the decision will be that everything will be on hold until further notice.”

Mrs. Kate Addo disclosed that the parliamentary board will give more details on the move later.

Last Friday, the police arrested three #DropThatChamber activists for disrupting parliamentary proceedings.

Led by social critic Ernesto Yeboah, they were released on bail later that evening in the sum of GHS2,000 with one surety.

The three protestors were arrested by police after screaming from the Public Gallery in parliament “drop that chamber”.

However, what is left of the an intended demonstration slated for Saturday, 13th July against the chamber remains to be seen.

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