Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kenya's Parliament gets a new look

President Mwai Kibaki officially opened the refurbished parliament’s chambers on Monday morning. Members of Parliament conducted their first business of the day in the refurbished chamber with the Speaker of the National Assembly welcoming them in the inaugural speech.
The ultra-modern debating facility has cost the taxpayer about 920 million shillings and has been undergoing renovation for the past three years.
“The new-look Chamber is set to give members greater sitting space, ambiance, and personal comfort, with specially designed slots for persons with physical disabilities,” described House Speaker Kenneth Marende.
The facility will accommodate 350 MPs with 20 mobile seats to cater for any extra numbers, providing live broadcast of parliamentary proceedings through radio and television transmission.
Apart from the MPs area, the chamber has capacity to accommodate 600 members of the public, media, and diplomats.
The state-of-the-art technology in the modernized parliament includes a public address system, electronic voting systems, electronic buzzers, and computer monitors to enable intra-communication within the chambers.
National Assembly staff is currently undergoing in-house training on electronic voting under the stewardship of experts from Germany.
The horseshoe design of the chamber is borrowed from the Germany Bundestag and the Tanzanian parliament.

Credits go to Architect James Kimathi who is also honored for the design of the Tanzanian Parliament and the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison’s Enterprises for the seats. 

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