An Information Management Framework for the Support of E-Government in Zimbabwe
Emneord (Nøkkelord):e-government, transparency, trust
It has come as a fact that the use of Information and Communication Technologies has come to stay in this world. It aids the implementation of the emerging and irresistible e-government concept that seems to be the in-thing the world over. Zimbabwe has also joined the world by ascertaining its commitment to e-government as witnessed by its promulgation of various e-government services. However, despite the government of Zimbabwe having committed itself to e-government, it is of concern to note that up to this day, the country is operating without a clear information management policy or strategy that will guide and direct all the information management practitioners in the country. This comes as a great weakness in this day and age when the government of Zimbabwe has declared its intentions to subscribe to the e-government concept both in principle and in practice. Although the country has managed to survive without a clearly defined information policy in the pre e-government era, chances of it rolling out an effective and sustainable e-government policy on the same foundation are very slim, given the importance of well managed information as a pillar of sound e-government. The paper employed document analysis as its methodology in which Zimbabwe National Information and Communication Policy (ICT) Policy Framework of 2005 and the Ministry of Information Communication Technology’s (MICT) Strategic Plan (2010-2014) were reviewed and assessed the extent to which they sufficed to serve as information management frameworks that can support e-governance in Zimbabwe. The study revealed that there are ICT policies that are meant to serve as ICT strategies for the country but none of them has been put to test and such policies are very piecemeal at best as far as their coverage of information management is concerned. The first policy of such nature was the Zimbabwe National Information and Communication Policy (ICT) Policy Framework of 2005 that was developed by the government of Zimbabwe. This was followed by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology’s (MICT) Strategic Plan (2010-2014) which was being led by the then Minister Nelson Chamisa in the Government of National Unity (GNU). Following the dismantling of the GNU, the MICT was also dismantled and a new Ministry known as the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services that was headed by then Minister Webster Shamu came up with a new draft policy to guide ICT in Zimbabwe. Ironically, that new policy did not see the light as the then Minister was relieved of his duties and the new and incumbent Minister; Mr Supa Mandiwanzira came up with a new draft to guide the ICT operations in Zimbabwe. Despite all these developments, it remains of concern to notice that none of these policies ever prioritised information management as a strategic pillar of e-government. It is the argument of these authors that without the country’s e-government strategy being governed by a sound information management policy that will ensure the creation, management, and preservation of information, the concept will suffer the consequences in retrospect, to the detriment of the concept and the citizens. The study further revealed that the present policies are only addressing technical issues such as network and infrastructural issues of information management, yet other important aspects such as preservation, disposal and legal issues of information management are neglected. The study recommends a new framework that is comprehensive in terms of all the facets of information management. The framework covers all the relevant information management players such as archivists, librarians, records managers and the ICT personnel who should work together so as to collectively manage national information that support e-governance which Zimbabwe has just embarked on. The study further recommends that every government department has an information manager and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services should be the one in charge of the information management framework and oversee its implementation.
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