By NQOBANI NDLOVU
A MEDIA Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe-sanctioned survey has found the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) as the most open institution in Zimbabwe while Chitungwiza Municipality was cited as the most secretive local authority.
The media lobby group has since 2009 been conducting surveys to check on how easily citizens could access information relating to various organisations’ operations.
“EMA was assessed as the most open institution for being active on social media and maintaining a ‘partially’ up-to-date website. Although the institution was unable to provide information that had been requested, it explained its reasons,” the report said.
According to the survey, Chitungwiza Municipality did not respond to requests for information on its operations.
“A senior official stated that they did not receive the request and recommended that the requests be resubmitted through email,” the report noted.
Other organisations that were surveyed were Chipinge Rural District Council, Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe, Primary and Secondary Education ministry, Women Affairs ministry, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development ministry, Mutare City Council and Zimbabwe School Examinations Council.
Some of the organisations which had been initially targeted for the survey were left out due to COVID-19 restrictions and time limitations.
The study is also part of commemorations for the International Day for Universal Access to Information which is marked every year on September 28.
It is also based on the findings of assessments on whether public institutions proactively make relevant information available online in the form of websites or social media accounts.
The study further evaluates to what degree information is made available to citizens upon request.
Similar studies were conducted in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.