Mixed Reactions Over MPs New Chamber  

Members of Parliament (MPs) on both sides of the political divide yesterday expressed varied views on the reconfigured and renovated chamber of parliament, the cost of which is still unknown to most of them as well as members of the public.

In separate interviews with the DAILY GUIDE yesterday, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs for Atwima Nwabiagya and Atwima Mponua, Benito Owusu-Bio and Isaac Kwame Asiamah respectively, said the reconfiguration and renovation had deprived parliament  of its ‘Ghanaianness’ and believed the fittings of the old chamber should have been maintained.

According to Benito Owusu-Bio, the old desks were more durable and were specially made to suit a Ghanaian setting.

“We had all these ‘adinkra’ and ‘kente’ symbols and designs on the desks which represented our culture and tradition, but the new desks are ordinary desks with no special designs on them,” he said, stressing that in spite of the technological advancement, Great Britain has still maintained its House of the Commons and House of the Lords which make them unique to any visitor.

“In my candid opinion, I think we should have maintained the old furniture to express our identity to any visitor to our parliament,” the MP for Atwima-Nwabiagya said.

The MP for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, said the renovation and   reconfiguration were waste of public funds.

According to him, the old desks, chairs and the carpet were all in good shape and that to remove these durable desks and replace them with what he referred to as ‘China-made’ desks and chairs were just waste of resources.

“They could have just added some few desks and install the electronic gadgets instead of changing everything which I think is a waste of time and money,” he noted.

The NPP MPs for Bosomtwe, Mampong and Tano North – Simon Osei-Mensah, Francis Addai-Nimoh and Freda Prempeh respectively – as well as National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs for Wassa East and Keta, Issac Adjei Mensah and Richard Quashigah respectively, however endorsed the new chamber saying it would definitely improve upon the work of MPs with the installation of new electrical gadgets.

“The renovation was in line with modern trend,” Simon Osei-Mensah said.

The NDC MP for Keta described the new chamber as very beautiful adding that the electronic gadgets and devices would enable MPs to have ready access to important documents from the internet to enable them carry out their duties effectively.

The NPP MP for Mampong, Francis Addai-Nimoh, said the new environment looked appealing and expressed the hope that the leadership would take the necessary steps to ensure that the new desks and gadgets lasted.

The NPP MP for Tano North, Freda Prempeh, also praised the technical people for making the renovated chamber as well as new washrooms accessible to the disabled people.

“The chamber looks good but the seating arrangement is such that there is no space for Members to pass behind the backbenchers to be able to get to their desks which something urgent must be done about,” he urged.

All the MPs who were interviewed said they did not know about the cost of the renovation.

 By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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