The Parliament of Namibia’s development of a new website by the Polytechnic of Namibia will open a communication platform for Parliament, electorate and nation at large.
Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Theo Ben Gurirab referred to the upcoming website as a step forward into the modern age of communication, thus taking the Parliament to the people.
He spoke at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between PoN and the Parliament on the development of a new parliament website,
“Parliamentarians are elected by the voting public to represent their interests; hence there is a need for regular dialogue with their constituents. Parliamentary websites have evolved over the years from merely providing information about the legislature and its work, to linking parliament to citizens to allow them to freely engage their representatives on critical issues affecting them,” he said.
He added that worldwide, ICT has become instrumental in furthering the state of democracy by encouraging and facilitating the effective engagement of citizens. Thus, increasing their participation in the political debate and supporting the commitment of parliaments to greater openness, transparency and accountability.
PoN Rector, Tjama Tjivikua also emphasised that the MoU carries the meaning of the true value of participatory democracy.
“In a democracy, access to information is a precondition for citizen’s participation and governance, and this MoU speaks directly to this point. Therefore access to Parliament means access to information, records, archives, galleries, library and sessions. It is also has access to meetings, debates and activities of Parliament.
Chairperson of the National Council, Asser Kapere, agreed that the realisation of the agreement embodies Parliament‘s unwavering quest to strengthen its outreach, presence and visibility.
The development of the Parliament’s website will be carried through by the PoN’s students in the Information Technology School, who will collaborate with Parliament and members of the Parliamentary Support Programme.
Tjivikua added that the digital age has brought about a number of economic, political and social shifts in the world.
“Firstly, the way we interact as individuals and communities, through advances in social networking and telecommunication technologies; secondly the way our organisations and nations build greater efficiencies. Thirdly is the way global citizens overcome the tyranny of distance through the internet and other ways of communications,” he said.