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08.07.2019 Feature Article

Building A Skyscraper As A Parliamentary Chamber – Is The Mission Impossible?

Building A Skyscraper As A Parliamentary Chamber – Is The Mission Impossible?

In the beginning, man lived in a state of nature with no government or laws to regulate their behavior. Lives and property were protected by individual efforts. This created chaos, hardship and oppression. Men decided to form a society and live in harmony with one another. They also agreed to pledge allegiance to an authority and surrender all or some of their rights to the authority. The authority also agreed to protect them and their rights. In the view of John Locke, man was only under an obligation to obey the laws set by the authority only if government fulfilled its part of the contract. If it didn’t, then the laws would have no validity and the government can be thrown out of power. Hence, the sovereignty of a state as it exists in today’s world emerged from these two agreements.

Today, confidence and trust in government is gradually eroding worldwide. Starting from Malcron's France, through Kenyatta's Kenya, to Akuffo-Addo's Ghana. Governments around the world have not kept their end of the bargain and citizens rebel as a counter-measure. In attempt to engender trust from your citizens as a government, you don't just sell the sentimental card "trust me". Instead, you say “I’ll show you why you should”. In Ghana, the expectation of citizens in their government and their reaction when that is not satisfied is exemplified by the outcry by the people on the proposal to build a luxurious $200 million chamber for lawmakers.

Opposers to the new parliamentary chamber have some of their reasons as ; we lack infrastructure , we don't have portable water , many people cannot afford three square meal a day , poverty is high just to mention but a few. Frankly speaking, all these are reasons good enough to say that government should drop the chamber.

Now, let me make a controversial statement. In the next twenty years, if nothing changes (I’ll state what should change) citizens of Ghana will still oppose a parliamentary chamber because there will still not be good roads, accessibility to potable drinking water, quality health care etc. The issue then is not merely about dropping a chamber and investing it in infrastructure but this: at what point in our development as a nation will building of a new chamber not be a waste expenditure but a surplus to requirements? That is having provided portable water, roads etc. The answer is simply never. We shall never get there because just like human needs are insatiable,

development projects will never be exhausted. It is a constant (K) whiles parliamentary chamber is a variable. (A). Until we get to a point where (K) has been done to the extent that citizens are now confident in their government, citizens will always rise against (A).There is estimated population of Ghana as 30 million. Until at least 22. 5 million of Ghana’s population become satisfied with (K), building (A) will be difficult if not impossible. What I have stated here is not a fact. It is a controversial statement whose veracity or falsity will bedetermined with the passage of time. And by 22. 5 million, I mean people who are able to reason outside political affiliations at least for a second and remain objective on key issues of national interest. Thus K= A is not possible but until K pushes up to a standard 22. 5 million to make citizens feel comfortable, no government can build a chamber in peace. But is it possible to achieve this given the multi-party system in our country with two dominant political forces? It is and I'll show you how.

1. We need a leader not a political party leader

2. We need proper laws and regulatory mechanism

3. We need a common goal or a national agenda as a country

A cursory look at countries that have developed or making significant milestone in development will reveal that they had the 3 instances I have stated in place . South Korea, Singapore , China and now Rwanda .

With these 3 measures in place, we can get somewhere. Without it, in twenty years another luxurious yet important chamber will not sound good in the ears of well-meaning Ghanaians.The issue then is not merely about dropping the chamber and improving lives but at what point will lives be said to have improved such that building a chamber will be a plus? In my opinion, this should be the debate .I am not saying the chamber should not be dropped. What I am saying is that, let's look at it and delve deeply into how we can even raise a skyscraper as a chamber without strong opposition in upcoming years. Honestly, it is our inability to have done this that has resulted in this fierce opposition against the chamber.

By: Kenneth A. Appiah

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Kenneth A. Appiah
Kenneth A. Appiah, © 2019

This author has authored 1 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KennethA.Appiah

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