RUNDU - The executive director in the ministry of information, Audrin Mathe, has said it is an obligation on everyone to communicate timely, including public officials, as communication is important in government services.
Mathe and communications minister Peya Mushelenga are on a countrywide engagement to familiarise local authorities, government institutions and regional councils with the recently approved government communication strategy. Recently, the ministry was in Rundu to distribute the strategy to Kavango East, Kavango West and Zambezi region officials.
While in Rundu a week ago, Mathe in an interview on the sidelines of the official engagements noted that in government, communication must take place much more frequently both at national, regional and local authority levels, because that is where the bulk of things happen and thus need to ensure that people get information in real time as they happen.
“Essentially, we are still busy rolling out the government communication strategy. It was approved on 18 October and the idea is we want to familiarise everybody with the content so that come 1 January, all stakeholders in the process of communication in government are informed about it.
“We have discovered that government sometimes get blamed because we are not communicating enough on the things that are happening in the regions and constituencies to everyone else. Obviously it’s important when people know that there’s a clinic being built or there’s already a road being commissioned, that information needs to get out or whatever plans governors have of developing their regions that information also needs to get out as soon as possible,’’ he said.
At national level, Mathe indicated, that through Cabinet structures, the communication strategy will ensure that ministers will periodically make themselves available to make certain announcements but also take questions from the media.
This he said enables an interactive process where government communicates as well as get feedback from the electorate regarding where the country stand on most issues. “The worst thing that can happen is to be uninformed. We need information to exercise our rights,” he said.
The ministries are going to capacitate regional officers to ensure they make announcements on various issues to feed the nation on what is happening around them. “Government must be proactive to make sure that information is communicated to the public so that they can exercise their rights, for instance they need to know about social grants and other government services, and how such services work.
“At the same time, the ministry has information officers in the regions. Part of their jobs is to go out in constituencies to do public outreach and engagements to explain what government services are there and to show them documentaries about where the country stands and so forth despite financial constraints,” said said ED.