National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has said iPads will be given to each MP to help them reconnect with their electorate. Muturi said of late, the interaction between the electorate and their MPs through Facebook and Twitter has gone up tremendously hence the need to boost the lawmakers' capacity in ICT.
The Parliamentary Service Commission is expected to spend about Sh30 million to procure the iPads for each of the 349 MPs and 67 senators.
Other costs will include funds for internet connectivity. The bids for the tender for the supply of the Ipads will close this Friday. "Online and interactive discussion of Parliamentary work and information has risen to unprecedented levels in the last five years. The exponential uptake of the internet and therefore the social media in the form of Twitter and Facebook has made the dissemination of information on Parliament much elaborate and vast in terms of outreach, feedback and opinion shaping," said Muturi.
In his address to the 22nd conference of speakers and presiding officers of the Commonwealth in Wellington, New Zealand, Muturi said Parliaments must be ready to equip the elected leaders as one way of reconnecting with the public. The conference ended last Friday. "Currently, Parliament is in the process of procuring iPad for each Member," he said.
Muturi said citizens of today are enlightened and MPs should not return to them only for "vote hunting" but constantly get their views on legislative and policy decisions. "The aim is to be able make legislative and policy decisions that resonate with the people's needs and circumstances," he said.
Muturi said parliamentary processes have to continually evolve to accommodate new frontiers for reconnecting Parliament to the public, and entrench its relevance in the digital age.
He said to help MPs connect with their people, each member's constituency office has already been furnished with internet-enabled desktop computer and telephone. The Speaker said Parliament has invested in well-equipped training room on ICT for MPs who are not IT savvy.