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General News of Thursday, 4 July 2019


How John Mahama promised a new chamber for Parliament in 2013

Former President Mahama John Dramani Mahama pledged to construct a new parliamentary chamber for Members of Parliament when he appeared before the house to deliver a State of the Nation’s address in 2013 ABC News can report.

John Dramani Mahama told Members of Parliament that his government was ready to construct a new chamber for the august house on the premises of the State House adding that feasibility studies for the project had already been scheduled for later that year, 2013.

The statement by the Former President is contained in pages 18 and 19 of the speech he delivered before the House in 2013.

The pledge, according to the Former President was part of his party, the National Democratic Congress’ commitment to strengthen the institution of Parliament to deepen Ghana’s democracy.

Among a list of 4 promises he made to parliament, the former President assured the House that his government will “Commence a feasibility study for the construction of a new Parliamentary Chamber block on the premises of the State House.”

The Former President also gave MPs his word on plans to provide housing facilities to improve their safety and well-being.

In his 2013 State of the Nation Address to the Sixth Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, Former President Mahama stressed the following;

“Mr Speaker, the job 600 project, which will ensure Members of Parliament can operate from decent offices is almost complete. MPs can expect to be furnished with laptops with full internet connection to facilitate communication between their offices and constituencies as promised in the NDC manifesto”

In my first term we will seek to strengthen Parliament by:

“Establishing the democracy Fund proposed by the constitution Review commission to provide sustainable funding for parliament, independent governance institutions and other pro-democracy governing bodies.”

“Strengthening the Committees of parliament by ensuring that the chairperson and Ranking Members of Parliament are accorded recognition consistent with their status and responsibilities as recommended by the CRC”

“Commence a feasibility study for the construction of a new Parliamentary Chamber block on the premises of the State House.”

“We will also explore appropriate housing for MPs in order to guarantee their safety and security.”

The construction of a new chamber has been rebooted by the 7th parliament after the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye declared his intention to pursue it as a legacy project.

The Speaker of the House has suggested that the proposed new Chamber of Parliament should not cost more $200 million.

On Friday, June 28 the Parliamentary Service Board received the architectural model for the new chamber designed by world renowned Ghanaian architect, David Frank Adjaye.

The architect expressed readiness to commence work should final permit be given by Parliament for the construction of the new chamber.

“We’ve been given the direction to prepare to start sometime this year. If we are able to start this year, it can be completed within the next three years. We’re removing the Parliamentary chamber to a new chamber and refurbishing the old parliament to be another conference facility for parliament”

Parliament has come under intense scrutiny after the issue got into the public domain with a section of Ghanaians planning to stage a demonstration against it.

Some Members of Parliament, particularly, from the minority have also voiced concerns with the move despite claims by former President Mahama in 2013 that the move is one his party, the NDC, endorses.

As the public disaffection heightens, the majority leader has hinted of Parliament’s willingness to shelve the idea should the wave of protests towards it be sustained.

“We will try explain to them why we need this edifice but if after that people are still not in favour, we will then have no choice but to shelve it,” Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu said in an interview.