Botswana Speaks blog

Parliament launches Botswana Speaks website: Article on Mmegi

Mmegi published yesterday an article on the fact that the Parliament of Botswana has launched the Botswana Speaks website, a pilot participatory initiative that will allow the public to interact with their elected representatives online and via Short Messasing System (sms).

Speaking at a press conference on Monday ahead of the launch South East South MP, who also chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Works, Transport and ICT, Odirile Motlhale said some of the objectives of the project are to get citizens better connected with their representatives and to give citizens opportunities to get involved with the national decision-making process.

"It will allow the public to participate in debates going on in Parliament. Say Parliament is debating a bill, the public will be able to comment on it using either the website or sms," Motlhale said.Motlhale said the project, which cost over P6 million, is part of Parliament's e-parliament strategy, which encourages the use of ICT to better serve electorates.

It's a revolution. It's giving the youth especially, an opportunity to contribute because not everybody has the time to go to Kgotla meetings," he said. He said the project will also give members of Parliament more awareness of their electorates' views and priorities, and will encourage the enhancement of civic culture and citizen participation.

Motlhale said the plan is to have a unique toll free number for every constituency for people who would like to participate via sms, but that they are still negotiating with network providers.

Raynor Makosha, MP for Nata/Gweta, welcomed the initiative, saying it would be helpful for him as his constituents are scattered and it has previously proved cumbersome for him to get feedback from them on parliamentary issues. If the pilot project is successful, the initiative will be rolled out to all constituencies next year, Motlhale said.  He said they have already done the groundwork, and just await reactions from the public on the pilot.

Click here to read the full article

This is a scan from the article published yesterday: Mmegi-April-10-page-2.pdf


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