New Parliament: OccupyGhana, CDD-Ghana question House's priorities

New Parliament: OccupyGhana, CDD-Ghana question House's priorities
Source: Ghana|Myjoyonline.com
Date: 04-07-2019 Time: 09:07:30:am

Pressure group, OccupyGhana and civil society organisation CDD-Ghana say Ghanaians are justified in their anger against plans to construct a new 450-seat chamber.

OccupyGhana said looking at the extent of the work planned, it easy to see construction of a new parliament, will not come cheap. 

“We have noted the profound anger and disbelief among a lot of the population, and for good reason,” the pressure group said in a statement, Thursday.

OccupyGhana raised a number:
1. How is this project going to be funded?
2. How is this project considered a priority at this time?
3. Why do we need to provide for an increase in the number of lawmakers? Do we need 450 lawmakers?
4. Why has the Public Affairs Directorate of Parliament remained mute on this matter and not provided answers to inform citizens?
 
“The very fact that in light of all the problems Ghana faces, our parliamentarians think a new chamber is of utmost importance shows a significant disconnection from the lot of the people they are supposed to represent,” the group said.
 
“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.
 
“While noting that Parliament itself has no power to appropriate state funds or obtain a loan for this, we nevertheless call on our lawmakers to abort this plan and immediately take steps to win back the confidence and trust of the people who they are supposed to be working for,” it added.

The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has also said it does not think the timing is right for the erection of the new edifice.

CDD-Ghana said in a press statement also issued on Thursday that it does not believe that the construction of the new and expanded chamber at an estimated cost of $200 million is reasonable or justifiable at the present time.

”In the face of the numerous basic needs facing communities across the country, including a lack of safe and decent physical structures, structures and fixtures for many basic schools, a chronic shortage of bed in public hospitals, the deplorable conditions of many of the country’s roads, and sundry other basic infrastructural and material depreciation facing various populations of citizens, construction of a new edifice for Parliament is a clear case of misplaced priorities,” said the CDD-Ghana statement.

The civil society organisation has called on the leadership of Parliament to “heed justifiable citizen opposition to this proposed project and halt on-going preparations to construct a new legislative chamber.”

Public anger

There is anger on social media and a march is planned for July 13, to oppose the erection of the building which many believe is completely unnecessary.

The new 450-seater capacity chamber, when built, will have a chapel, a mosque, an eatery, and gardens. The current chamber being used by the 275 MPs, according to Sir David Adjaye who designed the new chamber will be converted into a conference centre.