2 anti- new chamber protestors granted bail

Two members of pressure group, Economic Fighters League, Ernesto Yeboah, former Youth Organiser of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and Abeiku Adams who were arrested by the Police for ‘disrupting’ Parliamentary proceedings in Accra yesterday have been granted a police enquiry bail. 

The Divisional Police Commander for the Ministries Police Command, Chief Superintendent of Police Gladys Mpere who confirmed this to the Ghanaian Times said the two were expected to report on Monday.

Members of the group were in the House to protest over plans by the legislature to construct a new 450-member Parliamentary chamber estimated to cost US$200 million. 

Seated in the public gallery of the chamber, the two were bundled out of the House when they yelled ‘drop that chamber,’ at the commencement of proceedings. 

This was after the Majority Leader and Member of Parliament for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, had presented the Business statement for next week. 

After the presentation, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament, North Tongu, sought to know when the Majority Leader would be briefing the House on the proposed chamber which has been kicked against by a section of the Ghanaian public. 

In his commentary on the subject, Adansi Asokwa MP, K.T. Hammond, who was unenthused about the campaign against the new Parliamentary complex, said the House could not operate under trees and that the criticisms were unjustified. 

Incensed by Mr Hammond’s position on the matter, Mr Yeboah yelled ‘drop that chamber,’ a popular hashtag on social media, from the public gallery leading to his arrest. 

To stress their point, the two repeated the trending hashtag and were also bundled out of the chamber, handcuffed and taken to the Parliament Police Station. They have since been transferred to the Ministries Police Station where they are being held at the time of filing this report. 

Whilst being led out of the chamber, Mr Yeboah was heard calling on the youth of the country to ‘rise up’ and defend the democratic path the country had chosen. 

“Drop that chamber. We don’t need any chamber. Young people of this country, rise up! Young people of this country, this is your nation, rise up!” he said.

“If you want to arrest me, arrest me but we are not afraid of anybody. You can kick me, beat me or kill me but you will not stop me from speaking. I will say what has to be heard. I will speak truth to power and nobody will restraint me from speaking truth to power,” he said. 

He said “I will say what I have to say and what must be said. If there are no men in this country, I will rise up and say what must be said. Drop that chamber! Drop that chamber!” he was heard yelling as Policemen from the Parliamentary Protection Unit of the Ghana Police Service whisk them out of the chamber block.” 

A member of the League, Hardy Yakubu, speaking with journalists after the trio were arrested said they would not renege on their resolve to use all necessary means to stop the planned construction of the facility. 

“That plan they have to build a new Parliamentary chamber is uncalled for, unwarranted, baseless, and useless and we don’t need it. People have been chanting on social media, on radio and on TV but it looks like our Members of Parliament no longer have ordinary ears that we all have. It appears they have complex ears and therefore, we have to deliver the message in a complex manner,” he stated. 

According to Mr Yakubu, the US$200 million earmarked for the project could be used to provide health and educational facilities, clean water among other pressing needs the citizenry needed to live decent lives. 

Ever since Parliament announced the proposed new chamber through the Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, a fortnight ago, it had come under severe criticism over the move which have been described by a large section of the Ghanaian public as “misplaced.”

With the hashtag #DropThatChamber trending on social media, a street protest in opposition to the new chamber has been slated for Saturday July 13, 2019. 

BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI AND JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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