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Sunday 20 January 2019
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Namibia’s baby steps towards e-governance

Government is struggling with the full implementation of an e-governance policy promulgated in 2016 with the aim of improving access to important information to the public and the media fraternity.
The policy was driven through the Presidential Economic blueprint-Harambee Prosperity Plan-as a way of bringing Government closer to the people and to also cut out bureaucratic bungling which characterises most public institutions when it comes to information dissemination.
Although one of the key pillars of this policy was to make Government accessible through new media technology(Social Media), most Government ministries are still struggling to catch on the wave announced by the Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya two years ago.

 
The information ministry spearheaded the promulgation of the Access to Information in 2016 with the aim of improving access to information to both the public and the media.
The proposition was also aimed to promote an e-governance policy for all ministries and Government Agencies by the year 2020. Ironically the reality on the ground still does not tally with the set targets as most ministries are yet-to-go to go paperless, even when delivering public addresses.

 
Even more worrisome is the reality that those who are tasked with information dissemination in most ministries, especially Public Relations Officers, are not forthcoming to release information within a reasonable period of time.
This is specifically in relation to the media-be it private or state owned.
Tweya said he is not yet in a position to give thorough feedback on whether most ministries have moved to improve accessibility through new media trends. A cross survey by The Patriot indicates that the most accessible ministries on social media platforms are Ministry of ICT, Ministry of International Relations, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ministry of Basic Education, Ministry Higher Education Training and Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration.
“I have not really sat down to make a thorough analysis of the information you are seeking because I am still on leave, but as from next week I will be able to give you comprehensive information in this regard,” Tweya said who has since been redeployed to the Ministry of Trade.
The Ministry of Works and Transport’s Facebook page was last updated in July 2017. The same challenge is also haunting the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ministry of Safety and Security, Ministry of Labour and Industrial Relations, Ministry of Public Enterprises and the Ministry of Trade, Industry Small to Medium Scale Development.

 
By far, the most accessible Government institution on social media is the President’s Office and the Office of the First Lady which are easily accessible through both Facebook and Twitter. The administrators frequently interacts with the public.
Although the progress to improve e-governance has been rather slow in both implementation and uptake, the move has somewhat been seen as a progressive way to enhance the flow of information between Government and the citizenry. The same policy has also been adopted by regional power house South Africa whose ministers are not only vibrant through the ministerial Facebook platforms, but who also engage through their personal accounts on social media.




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