The Ghana Parliament House started trending recently for the most amusing reasons. Now, you’ll love to follow us down the memory lane of how it all started…
The roof of the Parliament house of Ghana got ripped off as a heavy rainstorm descended on the city of Accra on Tuesday evening. It happened that an enormous part of the roof was torn away by the fierce wind which accompanied the heavy downpour, leaving the prestigious Ghana Parliament House leaking.
There are varying reports on the exact time of the unpleasant incident. Some sources say it occurred moments after the Parliament were done deliberating on a Local Government Bill presented to it under a certificate of urgency; some others have it that it is the incident that forced the house to adjourn, while a few other sources reported that the Minority started deserting the parliament even before the adjournment.
Meanwhile, pictures of MPs as they put mopping buckets and waste bins as water receptacles at strategic positions in order to shield the carpet, seats and other gadgets from getting wet were captured. The mostly affected area was the Chamber section where the clerk sits.
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia was at the Parliament, the following day [Wednesday], to inspect the damages. According to the Parliament’s Majority Leader, Osei-Bonsu, it may take up to three months for the ripped roof to be properly repaired.
This incident which has been circulating on various media platforms has got a lot of Ghanaians talking. While a good section of the public have blamed the incident on poor maintenance, others accepted it as an accident. Whichever ways, it is not at all surprising that such unfortunate incident could befall the Ghana House of Parliament, considering some factors.
The Power of a Rainstorm
I was once an eyewitness to what a rainstorm can do to roofs and of course every other structure around whenever it hits any vicinity with its destructive force. On that fateful day, the entire roof of a gigantic three-storey building in my area was totally yanked off by the wind and safely deposited on the field of a nearby Senior High school. What a rainstorm can do!
But then, the arising questions include; how strong is the roof in question? When was it built, and with what quality of materials. That takes us to –
When the Ghana Parliament House was built
The Ghana Parliament House was built as far back as 1965 during the days of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah. The edifice contains the office of Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, temporary offices of Members of parliament, as well as the meeting room of parliamentarians.
Even though the house was renovated in 2012/13 at a reported cost of Gh¢94.2 million, the fact that the building is old cannot be denied or overemphasized. Meanwhile, Ghanaians still need to be convinced that, the rip on the roof of Ghana Parliament House, is not at all a reflection of the level of competence of the individuals that it shelters.
3 Fast Facts about Ghana’s Parliament
The House of Parliament is govt’s legislative body
Ghana as country practices the parliamentary system of government and the Parliament is her legislative body. The country is made up of 275 constituencies. It used to be 230 constituencies until 2008 when 45 more constituencies were created. Each constituency has one Member of Parliament (MP) who represents her at the country’s (unicameral) Legislature.
Each session of the parliament lasts for four years after which it is dissolved, following a general election.
Ghana Parliament is similar to that of Westminster
Ghana Parliament operates very much on the lines of the United Kingdom Parliament of Westminster. Although the British Parliament comprises two houses, it follows to some extent, the Westminster model, making provision for Ministers to be questioned in Parliament, and also for MPs to make statements on matters of public importance.
Some MPs Never Speak in the House!
It has been discovered that some Members of Parliament serve an entire tenure without ever speaking on the floor of the Parliament. This incredible discovery was disclosed in a report recently released by Odekro, a civil society organisation that is committed to studying Ghana’s system of governance. According to the report, 19 MPs never made any contribution throughout all the sittings of Ghana’s 6th Parliament.