Ban cellphones in Parly, says Mudenda

SPEAKER of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda says he will persuade the Committee on Standing Rules to ban cellphones in the House during sessions because of the disruption they cause in the august House.

Adv Mudenda said the use of cellphones in the House trivialised business and eroded the public’s trust in their representatives.

He was addressing Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and civil society members at a recent workshop in Kariba.

“I shall persuade the Committee on Standing Rules to ban cellphones in the House,” he said. “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.”

Adv Mudenda said investigations were underway in other countries to establish their policy on cellphone use in their parliaments and there is a possibility that the gadgets will be banned.

“You create public trust by the commitment. You dedicate to the task for which you were chosen,” he said. “I hope this habit of tweeting will stop in your next sessions.

“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.”

Adv Mudenda said Parliament prioritised the completion of the electoral reform process and the business of the House for which they were elected.

“The flip side of that is that you are disrespecting the institution that has brought you here (Kariba) to do an exercise that must be completed within two months,” he said.

“One member said we will be tweeting to research information for debate and I said to that member I have not seen you stand up to debate, referring to your cellphone never, neither have I seen someone except the former member (James) Maridadi.”

Preliminary investigations, said Adv Mudenda, had shown that cellphones are not allowed in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, Congress in the United States of America and neighbouring South Africa.