Security threats to Presidents and Members of Parliament (MPs) has been pointed out by the Majority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu as one of the reasons a new parliament chamber is needed for the legislative arm of government.
The announcement of the possible construction of a new chamber with the capacity to host 450 persons at a time has been widely condemned and rejected by Ghanaians and well known pressure groups and Think Tanks.
However, the Majority Leader of Parliament who doubles as Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and a member of the Parliamentary Service Board has given several reasons to justify the construction of the new chamber at a colossal amount of not less than $150 million. Amongst the reasons given include the unfit for purpose nature of the current chamber, the exposure of columns in the chamber that blocks some MP’ from being seen by the Speaker during debates and the narrow nature of the walkways.
It has also emerged that security for visiting Presidents and the Speaker are among the many justifications.
According to Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the new Parliamentary chamber would be used on occasions of swearing in of a new President instead of the usual Black Stars square.
He however expressed concerns that the current chamber is not secured enough for such an occasion.
“Under normal circumstance we should swear in a new President in Parliament like we did for former President Kufuor. But with the current chamber, anything can happen especially in this era of terrorist threats. You can imagine [God forbid] if anyone aims and shoots at the President. You can imagine what we will find ourselves in” he said in a GHOne TV interview monitored by Myafricatoday.com.
He added that the speaker of Parliament is also exposed to the danger of attacks including acid attacks with the current architecture of the chamber.
“You see where the Press corps sit, they sit at the top of the Speaker. That is dangerous. Anyone could jump onto the speaker or pour acid on him” he added.
He however insisted, the decision is not cast in stones and is yet to be discussed extensively.