Kenya PSP Success Story: Integrating Technology into Legislative Business
For a legislature in the midst of a transformation like the Kenya Parliament, incorporating technology into the legislative process goes beyond the need for efficiency; an electronic voting system (EVS) is a crucial tool in the consolidation of democracy.
Through its USAID/DFID-funded Parliamentary Strengthening Program (PSP) in Kenya, SUNY/CID procured an integrated EVS and a Public Address System for the newly constituted Senate in Kenya. Now installed in the new Chamber, this system increases legislative efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency by recording electronic voting, delegate discussion, attendance registration, user identification, camera tracking, and digital recording. In addition, the electronic voting system allows citizens to more easily track the position of their elected representatives on key issues. This ability is critically important as the country moves towards a policy-center evaluation of candidates as expressed in political party platforms and other pre-election commitments to the voter. A Member’s position on budget priorities, contentious legislation, and oversight investigations has become central to the constituents’ assessment.
The integrated system allows the Speaker of the Senate to manage debate in the House with more efficiency that the previously used temporary Chamber that lacked the EVS facility. During debate, a Senator’s request for contribution is immediately available to the Speaker on his screen, enabling him to respond and balance the debate, as necessary. The installation of the Electronic Voting System dovetails perfectly with the Kenya Parliament’s vision of fully integrating the use of technology in conducting legislative business and will continue to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the legislative process.
Posted February 28, 2014