Senator Wellars Gasamagera has appealed to regional governments within the EAC to involve the local community in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) if the sector is to benefit the entire citizenry of the regional bloc.
He made a call yesterday at the conclusion of the third East African Internet Governance Forum in Kampala, where he said that ICT will play a strategic role in responding to most issues related to the community.
“Involving the community means actually responding to their issues, down to the grass roots levels. It means ICT should not be exclusivity for the elite population in towns, instead it should be owned by lower people at village level, and they will only benefit if it responds to their needs,” he told the meeting.
Gasamagera gave an example of Rwanda where the government has adopted a policy where citizens will soon be participating in live debates in parliament with the aim of empowering as well as imparting information technology on lower level.
“We are thinking of using the existing programme of One Laptop per Child where the children will pass on skills to their parents. This will improve our outreach strategy so that our parliament is able to be accessed by the largest number through ICT”.
He said that the citizens will participate in discussions on bills that are under discussion before parliament and will give their views before they are passed into laws.
“I therefore call upon regional parliamentarians to take up their responsibility to cater for their population by encouraging deeper penetration of ICT within our communities.”