By Daniel Chigundu
SPEAKER of National Assembly Jacob Mudenda says Parliament has installed biometric access system as part of its modernisation process and to also help generate electronic attendance register for Members of Parliament.
The biometric registration system is in line with Parliament’s Goal 2 of the institutional strategic plan which aims to modernize the work of Parliament leveraging on ICT.
Speaking in Parliament recently, Advocate Mudenda said the new system will also help calculate fuel and sitting allowance for MPs in accordance with attendance.
“The biometric registration system will enhance ease of access into the building for both Honourable Members and staff of Parliament as you will be able to enter the building even without your I.D. once you are registered on the system.
“Additionally, the system will also generate an electronic attendance register of both sittings of the Houses and committee meetings, thus reducing the prevalence of human error in recording the attendance of Honourable Members.
“This electronic attendance register will eventually be linked directly to the accounts department and will automatically calculate and update the sitting allowances and fuel owed to each Honourable Member on House and/or Committee meetings,” he said.
Parliament has been relying mainly on manual attendance register and most MPs will only come to have their names registered and they would immediately leave before concluding the business of the house
This situation has resulted in the House adjourning early on several occasions owing to lack of quorum, resulting in the order papers swelling marginally with deferred issues.
According to the Speaker, MPs will begin to be registered on the system from the 17th of March 2017 and the system is expected to go live on 3rd April, 2017.
It, however, remains to be seen if the new system will affect public access to Parliament, which is currently a major concern.
Parliament of Zimbabwe is slowly embracing technology, late last year they redesigned and modernized their website, and are expected to buy a tablet for each MP.