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Govt finally buys Samsung tablets for MPs

Legislators have started receiving their tablets which they demanded from Parliament during the pre-budget seminar in 2018.

The Samsung Tablets will also see Parliament discarding the printing of Order Papers and other documents that are used by legislators in conducting Parliament business.

This development was announced by the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda when Parliament resumed sitting from a Christmas holiday.

I wish to advise Honourable Members who have not yet collected their ICT tablets to do so. Officers of the Information and Communication Technology Department (ICT) who are distributing the ICT tablets are stationed in Room No. 311, Third Floor.

I also wish to advise the House that from Tuesday 18th February 2020 onwards, the Votes and Proceedings and other documents related to the business of Parliament will be sent electronically and Honourable Members can access the documents from their ICT tablets. No hard copies will be printed,” he said.

There are 270 legislators in the National Assembly and 80 Senators in the Senate and this means Parliament has bought about 350 tablets for legislators excluding supporting staff.

Honourable Mudenda also informed legislators that Parliament has made an arrangement for ICT illiterate legislators to be attended to by the ICT department.

On the perceived inadequacies on the use of the ICT tablets, you need to liaise with your Chief Whips because we came up with procedures as to how those inadequacies can be technologically attended to.

If you are in doubt, you see the ICT Department, they will advise you accordingly. Let me take this opportunity to welcome all of you Honourable Members to this session and I hope you had a restful period with families.

We look forward to our cooperative venture in promoting the work of Parliament together,” he said.

The tablets are part of a long list of demands that legislators have demanded from treasury together with gym equipment, all-terrain vehicles, three-course meals, duty-free certificates, diplomatic passports, an increase on their salaries and sitting allowances among many others.

To date legislators have received, diplomatic passports, vehicles, increased salaries and sitting allowances and now tablets.

It is however not clear on who will finance the cost of data for the newly acquired tablets.

Parliament package for legislators includes a vehicle-loan scheme, monthly salary, fuel coupons and sitting allowances for each day they sit on Parliament business.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is the news editor for OpenParlyZW an online platform that covers Parliament of Zimbabwe activities using social media (Twitter and Facebook). He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum and a board member of Digital Communication Network.

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