More criticisms continue to greet plans to build a plush 450-seater Parliament.
Founder of civil society group IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, says it is shuddering to think that Members of Parliament (MPs), paid than the average Ghanaian, would want another chamber.
“Your bills are actually costing us as a nation,” he said on JoyFM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday.
Cost of the new Parliament remains undisclosed. What is known is that the new Parliamentary complex will now have a chapel, a mosque, gardens and a chamber with the capacity to seat 450 MPs.
The present chamber will be converted into a conference room, designs by architect, Sir David Adjaye have confirmed.
Parliament has said the building is needed because the current facility lacks structural integrity.
The State House which houses parliament was built in 1965 by first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Some renovations were done in 2013.
Parts of its roof was ripped off in 2015. But panelists on the JoyFM Super Morning Show agreed, a new building is a misplaced priority.
Franklin Cudjoe expressed worry that Parliament’s latest priority is “actually costing us as a nation.”
Senior policy analyst at the African Center for Energy Policy Jo Ann Sackey said the proposal is another example of politicians placing “comfort above necessity.”
Franklin Cudjoe was also worried that a 450-chamber is signal of a potential increase in the number of MPs by 175 seats more.
The policy analyst said Ghana is too small a country to even have 275MPs. Instead of more that makes no sense, he said he would like to see Ghana have 140 MPs.
Political scientist Prof. Gyampo, however, believes Ghana needs “monumental buildings” as the country develops.
He said the building may be coming because of the Speaker of Parliament’s contact in China where he was once a High Commissioner.
The political scientist who once worked with Prof.Oquaye when he was a lecturer at the University of Ghana said a new building is “not that bad.”
He said he does not have any qualms if the proposal is the product of the Speaker’s network of contacts.
“I think the Speaker wants to leave a legacy,” he said stating he does not have “a lot of qualms” with the plan to build a new chamber.
The lecturer’s support for the new edifice, however, remains, in as much as it does not cost the taxpayer.
”If building the new Parliament house isn’t free, this is not the time for us to be going for loans,” he stated.
Prof.Gyampo said he is more worried that Parliament is unable to effectively check the Executive and is seen as a rubber stamp.
“The Parliament we have in Ghana is not effective,” he said.
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