Story by Paulina Ndalikokule
Windhoek – The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi launched the revamped Parliament website today. The revamping of the website was made possible through the assistance of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).
The renewed website that is now replete with many features including the livestream of parliament sessions and activities, will continue to serve as a repository of parliamentary information and improve stakeholders’ engagements. Individuals will also be able to view bills and other procedures conveniently and efficiently.
Among other important features that have been enabled, include Bill tracking that will allow legislators and members of the public get involved in the law making process.
The speaker stated that although parliament has always aspired to fully embrace digitalization and transform into a paperless parliament, the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic has prompted the legislature to fast track this process.
“We have started the process to transform into an e-parliament, which will enhance digital parliamentary democracy through online citizen engagement and participation. Our transformed parliamentary website is therefore crucial in ensuring this transformation,” Katjavivi said.
He emphasized that the parliament website is a useful tool for promoting transparency and that both lawmakers and staff should take ownership of this innovation. Katjavivi added that the website is an important instrument for bringing parliament closer to the people
“The website is ours, let us take collective ownership of it in our vision to transform into an e-parliament,” He encouraged.
The Acting Secretary of the National Assembly and Director of Library and Computer Services Dr. John Shimaneni in his remarks emphasized the importance of the website in promoting public participation and access to information, adding that the hosting of the website by OPM would improve website safety and reduce costs.
“Live streaming of parliamentary sessions and other activities will be done directly on our website. This website will also allow more automatic features meant to improve website content update notwithstanding the fact that it will be hosted by Office of the Prime Minister in order to improve security and reduce costs,” Shimaneni said.
KAS Resident Representative, Natalie Russman noted that the parliament website was a milestone towards adapting parliament to the electronic and digital era. She added that a smart and modern website was key to transfer information.
“During the time of Covid19, we all realize how extremely important visual communication and information sharing has become. Parliament can’t stand still and keep quite during a crisis like this pandemic. Parliament website can fill that gap successfully as a communication tool and platform,” she said.
She further lauded the continued partnership between the two institutions.