New Chamber For MPs

The reconfigured chamber.
Two hundred and seventy-five Members of Parliament will occupy a completely new-looking and reconfigured chamber as the sixth parliament reconvenes for the third meeting of the second session tomorrow.

The chamber had to undergo renovation and reconfiguration in order to accommodate the additional 45 MPs resulting from the creation of additional constituencies in the run-up to the 2012 general elections.

The additional MPs have had to ‘squeeze’ themselves among the existing 230 MPs since they entered parliament in January 2013, making them uncomfortable in carrying out their duties on the floor of the House.

The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, had consistently promised to have the chamber reconfigured to conveniently accommodate all the MPs and that promise finally came into fruition when parliament adjourned in July for its long recess.

The amount involved in the renovation and the reconfiguration had not yet been made public by the leadership of the house, giving room for all sorts of speculations.

During the emergency sitting in October, the Al-Hajj newspaper accused the speaker of unilaterally awarding the contract and refusing to even disclose the amount involved to his colleague MPs.

The paper went ahead to speculate that the cost of the contract was $2 million, according to its investigations, but the speaker, in a reaction at the end of the emergency sitting, said the award of the contract was very transparent.

Even though Mr. Adjaho did not mention the figure involved, he told the MPs that anybody who wanted to know the figure could verify from the Public Procurement Authority – which approved of the contract.

Some people have also questioned why the MPs, especially the minority members, had not raised this issue as members of parliament who have oversight roles to ensure value for money in the use of public funds. They have not publicly enquired about the contract sum to ensure that there is real value for money in respect of the renovation and reconfiguration of the chamber.

Even though there has been total transformation of the chamber, the reconfigured chamber has lost its ‘Ghanaian touch.’

It now looks completely foreign, with new modernised desks and electronic microphones.

The former desks, which were bigger in size, had some ‘Ghanaian touch’ with ‘adinkra’ symbols  and designs on them, but the new desks which are smaller in size, look too ‘foreign’ with no special ‘designs’.

The colour of the chairs replicates the colour of the wall of the chamber as well as the chairs in the public gallery.

There is a new lighting system while all air-conditioners have been changed.

The carpet has also been changed while two giant-screen TV sets have been erected to replace the old LED TVs on the walls that showed proceedings on the floor of the house.

The third meeting of the second session of the new face-lifted parliament will definitely be a busy one with the 2015 budget statement of the government taking the centre stage by mid November.

By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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