The Economic Fighters League (EFL) has downplayed calls made by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye that the COVID-19 pandemic has justified the necessity for a new and spacious parliamentary chamber for Members of Parliament.
According to the Economic Fighters League, the revisiting of the call for a chamber by the Speaker at this time demonstrates an insensitivity to the plight of Ghanaians.
Speaking in an interview with ABC News, the head of Creative Arts and Advocacy Command of the fighter’s league, Namata Serumaga-Musisi indicated that the speakers call at this critical moment is diversionary. She indicated that it is very worrying that the speaker is making this call at this point that the well-being of the people of Ghana concerning the current global pandemic should be paramount to the government.
“It is not justifiable at all. This is a very critical time. If we are not focused on the issues now, we are going to find ourselves in a position where our already under-resourced system will be unable to cope with the number of cases that we will find. I find it very concerning that there is so much focus on things outside the well-being of the people,” she expressed.
She added that “it is absolutely a non-starter and I think it is very insensitive towards the people of Ghana.”
Commenting on how the country’s Members of Parliament can stay safe in the outbreak of the pandemic, she opined that building a new chamber is not an option noting that a new and spacious chamber cannot be built in 10 minutes.
She, therefore, recommended that they emulate strategies that countries such as Canada have used in ensuring the safety of their members of parliament including the use of technology as it can enable them to work remotely and also from their various houses.
“This is not a normal situation. We are not going to live in a pandemic every day of the year. So measures can be taken to ensure that the Members of Parliament are safe. That does not mean that we need a new chamber. A chamber cannot be built in ten minutes, the virus is already here,” the Ugandan activist told ABC News’ Kwasi Kwarteng.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye has disclosed that the coronavirus pandemic grappling the world has brought to fore the need for a new parliamentary chamber.
In announcing the decision to move sittings from the Chamber to the Accra International Conference Center (AICC) to be able to observe the social distancing protocol, the speaker indicated that “as the Majority Leader suggested, the other day, we are in the process of making all relevant arrangements if we can relocate temporarily to the conference centre…and carry on. Maybe, this would make people realise that Parliament needs a more spacious place”.