By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has called on Commonwealth Parliaments to utilise the growing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to ensure the efficiency of their legislative activities.
Kadaga who is also the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) International President, says the theme of the 50th CPA Africa Region conference presents an opportunity for countries to review the use of ICT in their Parliaments with a call to share experiences for improved output.
“We should learn from each other with a view of setting up or improving existing laws, institutions and resources for use of ICTs in our legislatures,” said Kadaga.
She made the remarks while addressing the opening ceremony of the CPA Africa Region Conference on Monday, 2 September 2019 in Zanzibar held under the theme, “E-Parliaments: Seamless Platform for Facilitating Democracy”.
The Speaker added that the theme was aligned to the CPA Africa region’s aspirations of promoting peace, democracy and good governance in all member countries.
Kadaga also used the platform to reaffirm Uganda’s readiness to host the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) that will bring together 53 member countries to discuss matters pertaining to parliamentary evolution.
“I would like to confirm to you that by close of the extended registration deadline of 30 August 2019, a total of 684 participants had registered for the conference with 264 being from the African region. We take it as a symbol of our fraternity,” Kadaga said.
She informed the delegates that the CPC will oversee the election of parliamentarians to take charge of international offices, key among them, the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Chairperson.
“It is, therefore, our strategic interest as Africa region to take the lead in decisions that shall be made during the 64th CPC which will determine the future role of Africa within the CPA,” Kadaga added.
The conference was opened by the President of the Zanzibar, H.E Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein, who told delegates that people would easily express their concerns to their legislative representatives through an effective and efficient Parliament communication system.
“In order to reap the maximum benefits of introducing E-Parliament, huge efforts are needed to promote the use and teaching of ICT in the local communities and constituencies,” Mohamed Shein said.
President Mohamed Shein also reiterated Kadaga’s call to the delegates, to embrace the CPC in Uganda from 22 to 29 September 2019 saying, “It will make more people aware of various activities undertaken by the Commonwealth and its organs.”
The Speaker is accompanied to the 50th CPA conference by a delegation of 10 Members of Parliament, including the CPA Africa Representative (Uganda Branch), Hon. Jalia Bintu.
Key deliberations at the Zanzibar conference will centre on the use of ICT to among other things, strengthen public involvement in legislative processes and use social media to enhance parliamentarians’ constituency engagements