Second Deputy Speaker Parliament, Alban S. K. Bagbin is pushing for an urgent need for Parliaments across Africa to adopt and integrate ICT tools in the day-to-day running of Parliamentary business in order to ensure transparency.
According to the highly experienced legislator, the natural settings of the environment under which Parliament functions, underscored the primacy and authority of the Speaker or Presiding Officer and therefore, there must be urgent need for African Parliaments to adopt, adapt and implement e-Parliament as a quantum leap towards paperless Parliaments in the continent.
Mr. Bagbin made the call during the 16th Conference of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers, recently held in Abuja, Nigeria where he represented the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Professor Mike Ocquaye.
The purpose of the conference was among other things; create a platform for participants to deliberate on key issues on democracy and development on the continent; and saw Mr. Bagbin moved a motion on the topic “The Presiding officer and the challenges of managing e-Parliament – the experience of Ghana.”
Sharing the experiences of Ghana with his colleague Parliamentarians, Mr. Bagbin presented a contextual setting within which Parliament operates. He cited the positive impacts ICT has made on various aspects of the Ghanaian society in general and on Parliamentary business in particular.
He underlined the remarkable effects of ICT on governance, stating that “the impacts of ICT on good governance has been very tremendous. New technology has assisted our democracy to respond to higher standards of probity, accountability, transparency, and participatory governance.”
“The need for the deployment of e-Parliament across the various democracies on the continent cannot, thus, be overemphasized”, he added.
Arguing on the authority of the Speaker/Presiding Officer, Mr. Bagbin stated that “the institution of Parliament is conceived as the natural setting for confronting ideas and the conflictual expression of parties”.
“It is a setting of uniting and opposing persons of equal status fortified by they being democratically elected but with varied and various experiences, professions and educational levels.
In such a situation an authority that ensures cohesion and smooth conduct of business is imperative and unique. That authority is the Speaker/Presiding Officer,” Mr. Bagbin stated.
The motion was seconded by Hon. Thandi Modise Chairperson of the National Councils of the Republic of South Africa.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency educative and comprehensive presentation received a standing ovation from participants from Commonwealth Parliaments in the Africa Region and other observers.