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Parliament Under Trees May Empathise   
 
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12-Jul-2019  
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In all the discussions about having a new parliamentary chamber for about 450 members at the cost of $200 million, what has been evident is that, arguments for this most inconsiderate idea do not convince citizens.
Yes, we are not convinced because adding up, we strongly believe a new chamber is not necessary.

It is not necessary because representation of Ghanaians should not be a role of comfort.
In many of the constituencies of Members of Parliament (MPs), there are no decent road networks.

As for potable water and the fact that pregnant women are sometimes put on bikes, cramped in dilapidated taxis or carried across rivers, high in the hands of men, those, are now clichés.

It is not necessary because the lives of the several are more important than one parliamentarian.

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Thus, the MP for Suame, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, should not foist on us, the excuse of security and the fact that someone could pour acid on the Speaker of Parliament from the gallery.

Moreover, Parliament has its own security service. Is the taxpayer to maintain this service, while they sleep upon their watch?

As part of their detail, could one or two alert police personnel not sit in the gallery with visitors to ward off any such attempts? Then, Mr K.T. Hammond makes a case that Parliament cannot sit under trees.

I say, that perhaps, if they did, would make them empathise better with children who sleep on their bellies to write on slates and learn across Ghana. Let's put that into practice and let the Parliamentarians for one day, just a day, conduct a session under trees in any one of the constituencies in the country.

Let's see how they fare and perhaps, we will all conclude that the children, who sleep on their bellies in classrooms, have a better mastery over their circumstances, however dire, than adults. Perhaps, our "Honourables" may come out better informed and wiser about the daily grind of those they represent, particularly children. We, the citizens, also do not buy the excuse of space constraints.

According to Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, on occasions where ministers and other dignitaries had to be in the chamber, there were no spaces to accommodate all. Also, tough for some is the ability to catch the Speaker’s eye because of the columns in the chamber.

To the first excuse, I wonder the need for a new chamber, while the spacious Black Star Square is still available?

The square has not been spirited away by some mystery, so why push the new chamber agenda?

For the second excuse, I believe that an MP passionately desiring to catch the Speaker's eye, will definitely find a way. MPs may not be development agents, but they impact it negatively or positively by their acts or inactions.

Thus, effectively representing constituents and lobbying for development, would mean a tighter supervision of the executive to stem corruption in all forms. It would mean better thinking and lobbying strategies.

The better thinking will go into effective legislation to solve challenges and the lobbying strategies will help in the distribution of scarce resources for real development.

Until citizens see them as effective MPs, the campaign: #DropThatChamber will not end.
Yes, really, really, drop that chamber!

Please drop it like a hot cake inadvertently taken, because of an intense selfish desire that burns the palm (and perhaps in this case, we hope some consciences will be on fire too)!

Drop it and work hard so that Ghanaians really feel a change in their circumstance us democratically governed.


 
 
Source: Caroline Boateng - [email protected]
 
 

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