If you have one of these smartphones you’ll know first hand just how distracting they can be. It seems members of parliament are not immune to these distractions as the Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda has taken it upon himself to convince the committee on Standing Orders to ban cellphones.
I shall persuade the Committee on Standing Rules to ban cellphones in the House. There are no cellphones during Cabinet. There are no cellphones in the judiciary services. Why should we see them in Parliament? You underestimate your importance, you should be attentive 120 percent whether I am there or not. Wherever you go, whether you are meeting the public or not your attention should be 120 percent. That’s the new mathematical coding I am giving you.
The Speaker also said he hoped that the habit of tweeting during parliament sessions will stop:
You create public trust by the commitment. You dedicate to the task for which you were chosen, I hope this habit of tweeting will stop in your next sessions.
A number of politicians have taken to tweeting, and even recording videos during parliament sessions and then posting them online. Obviously, the more sensational moments can quickly improve one’s following and you can see why some parliamentarians would be eager to post these moments.
One of the members had argued that the cellphones are good tools to research for debate during sessions, which sounds similar to a response given by students whenever they advocate for cellphones in schools.
Advocate Mudenda did acknowledge that the ban would be informed by what happens in other countries, meaning if other countries don’t have a cellphone ban he might end up ditching the idea altogether:
That is why for the National Assembly, I said I am going to do some investigations and research in some parliaments on how they deal with these disruptive gadgets.
Quick NetOne, Telecel, Africom, Econet Airtime Recharge