Parliament launches campaign to revive 450-seater new chamber

Parliamentarians have launched a campaign to restore the proposed 450-seater Parliament chamber which was dropped by the House.

Parliamentary chamber

The campaign christened: 'It's our Parliament #Letstalkmore' is aimed at resurrecting the dropped controversial $200 million chamber.

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.

The 450-seater chamber will come with a chapel, mosque, restaurant, and a museum.

Some Civil Society Organisations and Ghanaians described the chamber as "needless, unnecessary and stupid".

MP for North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa opposed the decision to construct the new chamber.

Kofi Bentil, the vice-president of IMANI Ghana, also described the plans as "stupid".

A pressure group, OccupyGhana, called on the MPs to "abort plans" to build the chamber. The group said the Parliamentarians are being "inconsiderate" looking at the level of hardship in the country.

"We cannot believe that Parliament and its leadership would even contemplate something so inconsiderate at a time when so many Ghanaians still struggle in these difficult and trying times.

"Even sadder is the fact that it eats away at the confidence people have in the democratic process," it said in a statement. 

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.

New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for the Bantama Constituency, Daniel Okyem Aboagye, justified the proposed construction.

He said "...It is something that is worth doing, it is a good use of our money. Of course, we will not leave the rest of the issues untackled. Employment are being created, we are managing the economy very well. If we can have two hundred million dollars that is good money that can also be used to build our democracy, I think it's a good use for me".

Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader on his part said the new chamber for the legislature is to avoid fights among members of the house.

According to him, the current chamber is not spacious enough for Parliamentarians due to the inflammatory nature of their debates sometimes.

But Parliament said it will not go ahead with the construction.

The Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Mrs Kate Addo, disclosed that the project is not a feasible one at the moment.

"Before projects are completed, feasibility studies are done but you would realise that this new chamber is not something that is workable for now," she said.

According to her, the decision by Parliament not to go ahead with the project now does not necessarily mean money has been wasted.

She added that Parliament would need a new chamber in the future.

However, in a twist of events, Parliament has launched 'It's our Parliament #Letstalkmore' campaign to push for the construction of the new Parliamentary chamber.


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