Posted On: May, 25 2024


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CLERKS-at-the-table across Africa have been urged to embrace new technology in evidence use in parliaments in order to respond to prevailing technological advancements.

Over 64 members of Society of Clerks At The Table ( SoCATT) from parliamentary branches and sub branches across Africa have gathered in Arusha Northern Tanzania to participate in a three-days 2024 professional development seminar (PDS), aimed at strengthening parliamentary administration and knowledge sharing.

Accordingly, the meeting was informed that evidence use in parliament is one of the many other efforts whose objective is to strengthen parliamentary functions, is steadily gaining ground and being more pronounced in most African parliaments.

Speaking during the official opening of the seminar, the guest of honor who represented Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Hon. Dr Tulia Ackson, the presiding officer parliament of Tanzania and Member of Parliament for Njombe Town Constituency, the Hon. Deodatus Mwanyika, MP, noted that the world is changing at unpresented pace so the parliaments must adopt new technologies.

He said clerks at the table are forefront to make changes in parliaments so they need to be equipped with technology skills in order to enhance parliamentary operations in the era of evidence and modernization.

“Since the technology is changing every aspect in all sectors, the parliament can not remain on the roof. Clerks at the table can stimulate the processes in the parliaments through the use of advanced new technology” he said

He further explained that digitization is transforming societies and how they are organized and parliaments are no exception noting that clerks are the key to transform parliaments in the region

He added that the use of Artificial Intelligence in parliament settings currently is inevitable.

“It is time to relook at our settings and make changes according to what the prevailing technology requires, we don’t need to wait” he said

On her part, the SoCATT Africa Regional Steering Committee Vice Chairperson and the Clerk of the National Assembly Parliament of Namibia, Ms. Lydia Kandetu said that the use of evidence use is crucial for parliament.

She said that parliament must put on place technological mechanisms that will enhance the parliament functions.

“As such, parliament must put in place mechanism that supports MPs to use independent objective verifiable information from a variety of evidence sources to perform their functions” she said

She pointed out the use of new technology such as AI will help the clerks at the table in drafting, documentation, editing and reporting.

On his part, Assistant Regional Secretary of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa region, Mr. Daniel Eliufoo informed the Seminar that AI technology is a global agenda so parliaments must get prepared.

He further explained that African parliaments must get prepared to adopt new challenges accompanied with technological advancements.

“In order for parliaments to work more efficiently, they need professional people. We need to start now, if we delay adopting new technology it will cost us a lot” he said.