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General News of Thursday, 4 July 2019


NDC to punish Minority MPs who back 450-seat chamber

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has warned its Members of Parliament (MP) against supporting the proposed 450-seat chamber.

The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, said the party is against the proposed construction of a new chamber for legislators because they “do not think Ghana needs a new parliamentary chamber at all”.

Mr Nketiah, who addressed the press at the party’s headquarters in Accra on Thursday, 4 July 2019 said the party has communicated its position to the Minority MPs and warned: “If you go to support it there will be consequences”.

In a press release prior to the media encounter, the party said it would be “unconscionable in the face of these challenges for President Akufo-Addo to spend $200 million on a Parliamentary Chamber at a time when one already exists and is serving the needs of Parliament. Parliament only recently had the Job 600 project undertaken to provide decent offices for MPs. We are unable therefore to appreciate the basis upon which a new chamber should be built”.

The party emphasised that: “National resources must be channelled into projects and expenditure that have a direct bearing on the lives of the people not grandiose and prestige projects of doubtful relevance”.

The NDC wants President Akufo-Addo to “learn from the example of the NDC that invested heavily in education, health, housing, communications, water, roads transportation and other sectors which brought relief to the people of Ghana. He must not subject the public purse which he promised to protect”.

Social media – Facebook and Twitter – have been awash with harsh criticism against the Ghanaian parliament and its leadership in connection with the new proposed chamber.

The decision to build a new chamber has been met with intense opposition from Ghanaians as well as civil society groups.

Some lawmakers, especially from the Minority side, like the MP for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa; Ras Mubarak, MP for Kumbungu; and Tamale North MP Alhassan Suhuyini, have described the move as needless.

Also, some lawmakers from the Majority side, including Samuel Ayeh-Paye, Ayensuano; and Mr Patrick Boamah, Okaikwei Central, have also said a new chamber is not necessary for now.

However, the Majority Leader of Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who has been vocal in justifying the need for a new chamber, told Accra-based Citi TV on Wednesday that: “Parliament, since independence, is that one arm of government that has not had a purpose-fit facility built for it, so, this is not a decision we are making today”.

He argued: “The reason the Board is considering this is because of the myriad challenges confronting the current chamber”.