General News of Mon, 11 Sep 201752

Ghanaians angry over demolition of old Parliament House

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The pulling down of a structure which once served as the hub of operations for the country's legislative arm has sparked a debate on social media with many criticizing the Akufo-Addo-led government of embarking on a venture that is likely to cause financial loss to the state.

The over 50-year-old structure housed the Citizens Vetting Committee (CVC), the Judgement Debt Commission, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice as well as the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) caught fire in December 2013 and had parts of it destroyed, making it 'unsafe for occupation' as put out by some government communicators.

The demolition of the building will pave the way for a new one at a cost of GHC15 million.

The amount is part of the budgetary allocation of GH¢37,816,401 approved by Parliament for the implementation of the activities and programmes of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

Attempts to find out more about the demolition exercise proved futile as no official was willing to disclose information concerning the pulling down of the building.

However, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has declared the decision of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to demolish the old parliament building as illegal since it failed to acquire the needed permit for the demolition of the historic building.

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Speaking in an interview on Citi Breakfast Show the metropolitan chief executive said the news of the demolition came as a surprise.

According to him, CHRAJ, which occupies some offices in the building complex had written to the Assembly to seek permission to demolish the structure.

He said the AMA did not immediately grant the permit but sought further engagements with CHRAJ on the matter.

He added that the unilateral decision by CHRAJ warrants a punitive measure but added members of the Assembly were meeting to take a decision on their line of action.

Some Ghanaians also took to social media to express their disappointment at this new development stating that government could have restored it to preserve history.

Below are some reactions from Ghanaians

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History

Situated exactly opposite the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra, the Old Parliament House accommodated Ghana’s legislators from the era of Dr Kwame Nkrumah till 1981 when the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) ousted the government of the People’s National Party (PNP) under the leadership of Dr Hilla Limann.

Before then, it had housed the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly from 1951 when Dr Nkrumah became the leader of Government Business under British rule.

The Old Parliament House, during the revolutionary days, also housed the offices of the erstwhile Committee for the Defence of the Revolution under the PNDC.

On the day of the country’s political independence, March 6, 1957, the government invited functionaries, including the Duchess of Kent and the Prime Minister of Britain, Mr Harold Macmillan, to grace the occasion at the Old Parliament House.

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On the eve of independence on March 6, 1957, Dr Nkrumah declared independence at the Old Polo Grounds, opposite the Old Parliament House.

Today, the edifice houses the offices of CHRAJ, while Parliament has been relocated to the State House.

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