February 25, 2014

Mixed Feelings As MPs Get Training On Use Of iPads

When Parliament of Uganda spent one billion shillings on procuring iPads for Legislators, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga justified it saying the gadgets will replace stationery on which the institution spends about the same amount of money per year.

Three months since the MPs got the iPads reports, order paper and other documents are still circulated in hard copy form. Parliamentary Commissioner Chris Baryomunsi said the speaker didn’t mean that they will completely do away with stationery. He said there are some documents that will still be needed in hard copy form.

Baryomunsi added that parliament is still in transition and that the institution is in the process of capacity building to make MPs who don’t have the knowledge on how the iPads work conversant with the gadgets.

But at the training that kicked off on Monday at Bauman House in Kampala, only five MPs turned up to be trained on how to use iPads. The parliamentary ICT director Julius Wabwire, who was taking the MPs through the exercise, said for starters the MPs were learning how to charge their iPads, accessing wireless network and camera convention.

Rubaga South MP Ken Lukyamuzi said the training will help the MPs to execute their work fast and to keep up with the fast changing technology. Kibuku woman MP Sarah Mwebaza said she would like to know more about the gadgets’ applications and their various functions.

Some MPs have said that there is no need for training saying that they know how to use the iPads since they owned personal ones before.

Soroti Municipality MP Mike Mukula said that even the MPs that never had iPads don’t need training saying that anyone who has gone to school should be able to know how to use them.

But Bunyole West MP Jacob Wangolo said that not all MPs are from the same background. He said that some of them by the time they went to school even computers were not there.

Mukula says there are no papers needed now that MPs have iPads adding that he looks forward to a much more digitalised parliament.

Baryomunsi also said that parliament re-advertised for new internet providers saying that the initial provider-MTN did not deliver to their expectations. According to Baryomunsi, MTN said that it had provided internet for MPs to use only around parliament while MPs argue that they do parliamentary work even in their constituencies.

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