Public institutions in Zimbabwe are still secretive and are wary of releasing information involving budgets and expenditure, procurement and vacancy and employment procedures on their websites, a Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) transparency assessment report reveals.
Source: ‘Public institutions secretive’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The 2016 Report on Secretive Public Institutions in Southern Africa, released yesterday, said that the majority of Zimbabwean institutions surveyed remained closed and averse to placing information in the public domain.
“The surveyed institutions have a long way to go towards transparency and opening themselves up to public scrutiny. Most of them can easily be classified as secretive after most of them failed to respond to written requests for information,” the report said.
Among the 10 surveyed institutions are the Ministry of Finance, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Public Service Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Grain Marketing Board, NetOne and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
The worst performing institutions under the survey were the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and ZRP.
“ZRP follows as the second most secretive institution, requesting that written questions be submitted to them despite written questions already having been sent to them without any response,” the report states.
On the other hand, TIMB was found to have a very vibrant website and responded to questions promptly through a designated public relations manager, while the GMB had a less vibrant website, but their personnel promptly attended to information in a friendly and helpful manner.
The reported recommended that: “Government could also improve simple administrative procedures in its institutions in terms of clarity on where information requests should be taken to. There should be clear guidelines on how to obtain public information.”
Meanwhile, Misa has called on the government to align information laws with the Constitution and to repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).
“We urge the government to undertake the following critical measures, among others: Repealing of Aippa and replace it with a stand-alone access to or freedom of information law, which, among other things, provides for adequate measures to fully promote the enjoyment of the right by all Zimbabweans as provided for in the Constitution,” Misa said.