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General News of Monday, 8 July 2019


New chamber necessary, we must start it one way or the other - Kweku Baako

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper has backed a move by the leadership of parliament to construct a new 450-seater chamber saying the project must be started “one way or the other,” ABC News can confirm.

The veteran journalist who was speaking on Newsfile on Multi TV’s JoyNews channel Saturday morning said there is the likelihood that the proposed project may be put on hold due to increasing public agitation on the matter.

“My view, of course, because of the public uproar, I see, looking into the crystal ball, people putting this thing on hold, I see it, I can feel it but I am saying that one way or the other we must start with this project” he stated.

Mr. Baako defended his stance for reasons that the country cannot boast of an actual parliament house in the fourth republic.

“As we speak, we really, historically, in this fourth republic, haven’t had what we can call a parliament house in the true sense of the word. The last one, the old parliament house itself was actually a town hall, transit into the fourth republic, initially we had to use the conference center…the tower, that’s the job 600 has been undergoing all sorts of renovations and rehabilitation in order to provide the offices so strictly speaking, we don’t have a parliamentary edifice in the country but we’ve used some state monies to do all kinds of renovations and modifications,” he explained.

He further advised that Ghanaians should look beyond the new chamber project as a construction of another debating chamber but rather as the construction of a complex, which will have a lot of facilities that will inure to the benefit of all.

“When Nkrumah was building the Job 600, there was agitation in this country. There were people who opposed to it. The job 600, but the fact that we lacked maintenance culture, served useful purposes over a period, 20, 30 years, those who were taking him on were short sighted and did propaganda… understanding of this new parliamentary new chamber complex is that we are not taking of the debating chamber alone. A lot of people are focused on the debating chamber which we have reconfigured and done so many things to move from 200 seater, to 230, and then to 275. What I have found out is that it is a complex that will come with other facilities, offices for the table clerk, for the verbatim reporters..the press gallery, the public gallery, all those things. Indeed an archive for parliamentary records and it is a project that will be completed over about 5, 6 year period. See, this particular parliament is not even disability friendly, it’s envisaged that the new parliament will have all these..”

Mr. Baako however admitted that although he is not against the proposed building, once the issue is out in public domain the manner in which it is, it will be difficult for the project to be realized as a lot of emotions gets attached in the public space.

“I in principal, am not against building a new parliamentary chamber. I’ve observed the public outcry and uproar and the way it’s going and i keep on saying this that when these issues come and they are thrown out there into the public street, no politician or administration wins that battle, the masses win. Because people play on the keyboards of peoples emotions, it becomes an immotive matter and nobody is ready to listen. I think communication has been a serious problem for how this matter was out into the public domain” he added.