Zimbabwe’s internet penetration rate is 62.95 according to the 4th Quarter Potraz Abridged Sector Report of 2018,a number that has has been increasing over the years due to the growing demand for internet and data services, this alludes to a significant number of the population who use the internet for information access.
The biggest challenge there is however, is the participation of the government in the digital age, the adoption of social media accounts and up to date, regularly updated websites of government departments.
What makes the whole situation cringe worthy is that even the parent ministry which is supposed to be tech savvy and abreast in communication technologies, Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services last updated their website on the 22nd of March 2018.
The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services is also found wanting, of course it does have a Twitter account but also a website is necessary as it is a conduit between the citizens and the government.
Chairman of the ICT Division of Zimbabwe Institution Engineers, Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi has bemoaned lack of web presence by government departments.
“Majority of government websites are not updated with most having information that dates back to the Mugabe era. Our provinces and districts do not have any web presence of any form yet we produce 40,000 ICT graduates every year with most of them being self-employed. Ninety Six percent of our local authorities do not have a website or social media presence and their ICT systems are over 25 years old,”
” It should be government policy that each ministry and local authority should have a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or a Chief Information Officer (CIO) whose role is to manage the ministry’s or local authority’s ICT services. It should be the duty of the Minister and the Permanent Secretary to have a basic website, emails and working ICT services for their ministry. Failure to achieve this one should be dismissed,” he said.
However,the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade should be applauded for joining Facebook and Twitter to have an online interface with Zimbabweans on social media. It also has a regularly updated website where citizens can get a feel of what the ministry is doing.