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General News of Thursday, 4 July 2019


MPs sit behind pillars - Majority Leader justifies need for new chamber

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The Majority Leader and Minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has thrown out another reason to justify the building of a new chamber for Parliamentarians.

News about the construction of a 450-seater capacity chamber for the legislature at an expected cost of $200 million has sparked an uproar among Ghanaians with a widespread objection to the project. Some members of parliament from both sides of the house, civil society organisations and individuals are among the many who have kicked against the move describing it as needless and a misplaced priority.

However, the Majority leader has indicated that the building of a new chamber is necessary because the current structure which was built in 1965 by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was not built for Parliamentary purpose and hence the need for a befitting parliament house.

“First of all the configuration of the facility, we are using as parliament now was not so designed at the inception. It used to be the conference hall of the state until the construction of the International Conference Centre. So it is not purpose-built for Parliament. We had to resort to that because the original Parliament structure could not host the 200 members that the figure had increased to from 140 at the inception of the 4th republic so we needed a new facility to host 200 members at the time. It meant that because we had a new conference centre we had to realign that facility to host the Parliament of Ghana” he said on GHOne Television monitored by

He further indicated that the increasing number of members of the house over time compelled a further restructuring of the building which then exposed the columns in the chamber and compelling some members of the house to sit behind the pillars and hence cannot be seen by the speaker during debates.

“There is no any Parliament in the world where we have columns at the centre” he remarked.

The majority leader also raised security issues with the current Parliament which he believes poses danger to members and could be chaotic in an instance of emergency because of the narrow walkways in the chamber.

“The space between the Majority and Minority Leaders is just so small that if I stretch my hands, I could touch the hands of the minority leader. It doesn’t exist anywhere in the world” he added.

While admitting that the country has other pressing needs that need money to be resolved, Hon. Osei Mensah insisted that the new Parliament house is needed to protect the President during times of swearing in which would be one of the uses of the new chamber.

Meanwhile, there is an ongoing social media campaign by Ghanaians kicking against the project.

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