The Minister of Information Communication Technology Nelson Chamisa told Parliament his ministry would soon be doling out laptops to MPs, many of whom are not computer literate.
The minister said MPs needed to be computer literate in order to be relevant to their constituents. He was responding to questions by Mutare South MP Fred Kanzama who had asked him to explain to the House if MPs were also going to benefit from the laptop scheme.
Chamisa’s ministry has been dishing out laptops to ministers and recently, war veteran Joseph Chinotimba also received one and said he would use it to record the farms he had invaded.
“Our thrust is to make sure that government is connected and from a policy perspective, government is connecting and in order for us to do that we need to capture the hands of those who are governing and obviously ministers form part of the whole gamut of people charged with governance,” said Chamisa.
“To that extent, we are in the process of working out a modality to extend the same facility to MPs and senators,” he said.
Legislators have been criticised for their lack of interest in learning ICT. Finance minister Tendai Biti told Parliament last year that the extent of computer illiteracy amongst MPs was so pronounced that one day when he was making referrence to a computer mouse, some lawmakers almost ran away thinking that he was referring to rodents.
“If MPs have computers, they will be able to communicate in their communities, especially when dealing with the Constituency Development Fund because it would be important to be connected for purposes of managing the way funds are being used or distributed,” said Chamisa.
“We must get passports in Bulawayo and birth certificates in Tsholotsho and even be able to apply for them online. The Internet age demands that even as MPs you will be able to do your report- backs with a laptop.
“If you are not connected on Internet as an MP you must know that your chances of being unelected are very high,” said Chamisa.