Parliament of Uganda is set to diversify the use of technology after its Speaker Hon. Rebecca Kadaga directed the parliament ICT team to develop a mobile application in an effort to enhance public participation in plenary, committee proceedings, and other House activities.
The app will give both MPs, and the general public (Ugandans) an opportunity to contribute to debates, submit on topics and access parliamentary resources.
The development comes at a time when Hon. Kadaga is attending the 25th conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the commonwealth in Canada where Ugandan Parliament was hailed for its transparency and openness in deliberation of issues that affect citizens.
“Uganda’s Parliament has done quite a lot in being open to the public with a live broadcast giving Ugandans an opportunity to follow the goings-on in the House in real time,” the conference convener commended Kadaga.
Although MPs already have iPads which enables them to use the app and research on matters they intend to contribute on the Floor of the House, Kadaga said that public input into the legislative processes in the House is still lacking.
“Where I am not yet satisfied is the public input into our legislation. I asked ICT team to prepare this app but its taking a long time. I hope they deliver because it’s very essential that we able to reach out to the public on relevant discussion about the bills in committees,” Kadaga argued.
Parliament Commission Established a Radio Station
Hon. Kadaga intimated that although the Parliamentary Commission established a radio station to promote openness and public accountability, acquiring a frequency for it has been a big challenge.
She argued that, they have the equipment and the studio in place but UCC hasn’t helped them in securing a frequency.
“We already have the equipment, the studios but UCC hasn’t helped us in securing a frequency. This is hindering our desire to interact with the public through radio so that the country can follow what Parliament is doing,” she said.
The Parliament however still gives live broadcast via the national television, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). In addition, runs the annual Parliament Week that welcomes members of the public to access Parliamentary Chambers, obtain necessary information and interact with MPs about the affairs of their constituencies. The introduction of the mobile application will enhance more on this.