General News of Saturday, 9 September 2017
Four years after fire destroyed portions of the Old Parliament House, opposite the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra, the building is being pulled down.
The demolition of the building will pave the way for a new one to be constructed at a cost GH¢15 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).
Cymain Ghana Limited, the firm undertaking the demolition, began the exercise yesterday and it is expected to be completed tomorrow.
When the Daily Graphic visited the site, the Old Parliament House had been barricaded while a notice had been posted on the premises to advise people to stay away from possible dangers.
Only officials of Cymain Ghana Limited were allowed to have access to the site. About 10 workers were seen removing old and broken equipment for the bulldozers to destroy the over 50-year-old building.
As the bulldozers descended on the building which was constructed in the early 1950s, it was certain that Ghana was losing one of its historical landmarks.
The building, which housed the Citizens Vetting Committee (CVC), the Judgement Debt Commission, the CHRAJ and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) caught fire in December 2013 and had parts of it destroyed, making it unsafe for people to occupy.
An attempt 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, one of them, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it would take three days for the building to be pulled down. He was unwilling to share any further information.
There were no officials at CHRAJ to speak to because they had earlier been told not to report to work to allow the construction firm to carry on with the demolition.
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.
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.