Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
Information plays an important role in Government’s quest to achieve targets espoused by President Mnangagwa in Vision 2030, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
Further, social media should be harnessed towards the development of the country.
Minister Mutsvangwa made these remarks while officially opening the Ministry’s strategic planning workshop in Harare yesterday.
“For Zimbabwe to achieve its aspirations as outlined by our President, information plays an important role,” she said.
“If the nation was an engine, my Ministry would be the oil that lubricates the parts, Government and the nation at large, to run efficiently. All sectors in Government, private enterprise, civil society groups and the citizens need information so they can be galvanised for a common purpose, to be motivated to make the right decisions as we move our country forward.
“It is against this background that my Ministry decided to come up with a strategic planning workshop to shape and harmonise Government communication. The workshop’s overarching goal is thus to come up with a strategic plan that will guide Government communication in the short term.”
Minister Mutsvangwa quoted President Mnangagwa’s August 26, 2018 inaugural speech where he underscored that realisation of 2030 required concerted and disciplined implementation of radical economic reforms targeted at attracting and facilitating foreign domestic investments.
Minister Mutsvangwa continued: “It is abundantly clear that if the nation is to realise the shared Vision 2030, we need a strategy that mobilises the nation towards its attainment. It is with this guidance from the President that Government adopted the Transitional Stabilisation Programme which outlined a number of important plans whose implementation will stabilise the economy and set the country on a path of prosperity. Some of these measures, all underpinned by austerity measures, are painful to implement.
“The country thus needs a communication strategy that will clearly outline what needs to be done by all Zimbabweans to achieve the vision, the associated pain, the mitigating measures as well as the benefits in the short, medium and long term.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the role to manage the flow of information was not a monopoly of the Ministry saying stakeholders in the industry should also play a role in building a robust industry to ensure that the nation was well informed.
She said her ministry had a mandate to build a vibrant and responsible media industry and work towards the creation of a national information society guided by international best practices and promotion of a two-way communication between the Government and the citizens.
With regards to the ongoing digitilisation programme, Minister Mutsvangwa said it was 36 percent complete and was being hampered by constrained resources.
She said they would continue to engage Government to avail more funds for the project.
Turning to the use of social media, Minister Mutsvangwa said: “The information revolution that has seen the proliferation of social media due to developments in Information Communication Technologies has led to increased levels of information sharing in society and cannot be ignored by a communication strategy in this day and age. We are on the cusp of a major information revolution where technology is poised to deliver all types of data at literally mind-boggling speeds.
“Social media has both positive and negative dimensions in our society.”
She noted that Zimbabwe should come up with ways of ensuring that Zimbabwe benefited from the good aspects of social media.
Welcoming delegates to the workshop, the ministry’s permanent secretary Mr Nick Mangwana said the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services and the entire media industry had the responsibility of managing the country’s image and that of Government.
He said digitilisation was one of the major projects aimed transforming society.
“Digitilisation is not about watching a highly defined television programme. It is now about how we communicate. It is about our style of working, it is a means of living and it is a way of building knowledge, a way of doing business and of course a way of creating jobs. Digitilisation influences our welfare, it influences our democracy, it influences are healthcare, our education and our environment. It influences society as a whole.”
Mr Mangwana said the purpose of the workshop was to come up with a strategy on disseminating information and the Government agenda in a credible manner.
He said implementation of the strategy was key saying it would remain a mere document unless efforts were made to implement it.