Matibini urges improved networking among African MPs

Matibini-Speaker scolds MPs…as he terms their conduct disorderly, unacceptable
Matibini-Speaker scolds MPs…as he terms their conduct disorderly, unacceptable

SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has said there is need to improve communication and networking among Members of Parliament (MPs) and their constituents in Eastern and Southern African countries.
Dr Matibini made the observation when he officiated at the 15th Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Eastern and Southern Africa (APLESA) conference in Lusaka yesterday.
“It goes without saying that to have well informed parliamentarians in a multi-dimensional way, encompassing the economic, social, institutional and physical elements of parliaments, will demand making necessary adjustments,” Dr Matibini said.
Dr Matibini said Parliamentarians should promote cooperation and resource sharing, improve communication and networking, capacity building and best services in service delivery.
The theme of the conference is, ‘Legislative Information and Parliamentary Libraries: Exploring new Frontiers’.
He said the theme would offer an opportunity to explore new and exciting ideas in the provision of information resulting in the improvement of various Parliaments and having informed MPs.
He said the Zambian Parliament library had in line with the theme, made strides while other initiatives were still work-in-progress.
“I think that rich libraries are very essential for ensuring that we have very informed debates on the floor of the House,” he said.
The Zambian Parliament library started using the Inmagic library and information management software in 2009, which, among other things, enables the library to create various databases for library materials and can generate electronic reports.
The library in 2011 embarked on a digitilisation programme to ensure that all parliamentary documents such as debates, Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments were digitilised and accessed electronically worldwide.
APLESA chairperson Esther Kamau said the vast information could get lost if it was not organised in a manner that MPs could access and use to make informed decisions hence the importance of the conference, which has attracted 16 countries.
Education Minister John Phiri observed that national development and democracy could only thrive if there was equal and unrestricted access to information guaranteed at individual and community levels through libraries at an early age.
Dr Phiri said in a speech read on his behalf by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Patrick Nkanza, that Government had embarked on a vigorous programme to enhance the important role of libraries.