The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) has said the construction of a new chamber for Parliament cannot be justified.
The CDD argued in a statement that Parliament is “relatively well resourced” citing the recent construction of an administration block, the Job 600 office complex and the expansion of the current chamber.
It instead urged Parliament to focus on enhancing its credibility.
“What Parliament lacks but needs to make it a credible part of a system of constitutional checks and balances and a true policy-making partner to the Executive are not more fancy brick-and-mortar; what Parliament needs to assume its proper place in our governmental system are the appropriate institutional powers, prerogatives, and self-governing rules that would enable Members to initiate legislative solutions to public problems and exercise meaningful oversight of the Executive and public administration.”
Like other arguments against the construction, the CDD notes that there are more pressing issues that require funding.
“In the face of the numerous basic needs facing communities across the country… construction of a new edifice for Parliament is a clear case of misplaced priorities,” the statement said.
In addition, the CDD said this development “paints the picture of a political class that is either out of touch with the people’s everyday needs and struggles or is more concerned with providing for their own material comforts than with the existential needs of citizens and deprived communities across the country.”
It maintained that Government’s Ghana Beyond Aid vision will “suffer a loss of credibility” if resources are spent on “self-serving projects of the political class.”
The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has defended the proposed construction of the chamber and indicated that the state does not intend to spend more than $200 million on the project.
But opposition is mounting against the proposal by Parliament with a social media campaign tagged #DropThatChamber gaining prominence.
One of the organisers of the online protest, Rasheeda Adams, has said the opposition to the chamber will translate to the streets if Parliament does not rescind the decision.
Some MPs from both sides of the House have also publicly voiced opposition to the project.
The construction of a new parliamentary chamber is expected to begin before the end of 2019.
Renowned architect, David Frank Adjaye, designed the model and he told the media that the project will be completed in three years if it begins before the end of the year.