Kenyan parliament goes hi-tech
- Published on 09 August 2012
Kenya’s parliament has started using a $11 million state-of-the-art system that has brought an end to age-old traditions such as shouting 'Point Of Order' to catch a speakers attention.
Each member of parliament has a fixed electronic unit of what is called the ‘Multi Media Digital Congress System’, which allows members to speak, register a request-to-speak, listen to the speaker and vote.
Instead of shouting, members can press a button to raise questions or interrupt debate.
"Unlike the previous arrangement where members had to stand to catch the attention of the speaker, the new chamber has electronic buzz buttons to alert the Speaker whenever they want to contribute on any matter," said house speaker Kenneth Marende.
However, lawmakers in the house were unprepared for the tech upon its launch, as the majority of them reportedly struggled to use the new technology, despite having allegedly undergone training.
Upon launch, the system was clogged because some members continuously pressed buttons to catch the speakers attention.
“While it will not be a requirement to turn all MPs into IT ‘wizkids’, members will necessarily have to improve their ICT skills to use the new facilities,” said house broadcasting committee chairman, Nicholas Gumbo.
The chamber's media-centre has also been equipped with digitised television and radio studios which offer better quality broadcasting signals.
The chamber, which has a seating capacity of 350, has also been linked with parliaments in other countries through video conferencing. A similar refurbishment is to be done at the old chambers which will accommodate senators after the March 2013 elections.