Communicating the truth is one of the biggest challenges facing our country today.
ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs CS Mr. Joe Mucheru has said it is therefore incumbent for government staff mandated to inform the public to ensure that the information they disseminate is only the confirmed truth, leaving no room for speculation, rumors and fake news.
Speaking Wednesday while briefing the newly recruited Information, Communication and Human Resource Management and Development Officers at a Nairobi hotel, The CS specifically underscored the role of Information officers in truthfully and clearly informing the public about government activities in terms of development.
“You are the knowledge people. You need to know exactly what is going on in government and disseminate the same, Follow the Office of the Government Spokesperson twitter handle and tell it to the people as it is,” he said, adding that “there is so much that the government is doing but it is not getting to the people and this is your responsibility.”
Mucheru also advised the new officers to draw from the experienced staff in government and also work closely with colleagues in other media houses to propagate government agenda all the time.
The Acting Director in the Department of Information Mr Vitalis Ragul greatly appreciated the new staff revealing that the department had suffered acute shortage of personnel, forcing the closure of six sub county offices while most of the other active ones are currently being run by single staff.
Ragul explained that from a staff of 1,600 in the late 90s, the establishment had reduced to only 90 officers prior to this recruitment, noting the department received the last group of officers in 2011.
“We are very grateful for this additional 45 officers. They will help plug the human resource gaps we are currently experiencing and move closer to meeting our targets as set out in the performance contract,” he said. “We shall also re-open the six subcounty offices immediately now that we have the new officers,” he assured.
The Ag. Director took the opportunity to take the new officers through the department of Information’s structure and core mandate of gathering, packaging and dissemination of news among others, besides explaining to them other extra responsibilities that come by virtue of being information officers such as public campaigns by government in terms of health and overall development activities among others.
Speaking during the same occasion, government spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna asked the new officers to ensure activities related to the big 4 agenda are communicated effectively, hence the need for them to first understand the agenda fully.
“You need to empower the public with information. It is your duty to incorporate ‘Wanjiku’ in the big 4 agenda and other government activities. Let common mwanachi know why the government is allowing the SGR to carry full capacity amidst Covid-19 and not the matatus. Explain to Wanjiku what is in the BBI for her and all she needs to know,” the spokesperson emphasized, adding, “Seek to understand government activities and you will find it easy to effectively communicate them.
On her part, ICT Chief Administrative Secretary Maureen Mbaka asked the youth to make maximum use of social media including WhatsApp groups for consultation among themselves to help in promoting effective and efficient communication.
The government has recruited 45 Information officers (IOs), 10 Public Communication officers (PCOs), two human Resource and three economists to be deployed in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs.
Others who attended the briefing session included Director, Human Resource Management and Development Mrs. Miriam Gitau, Director, Government Advertising Agency Gwaro Ogaro, Ag. Director, Department of Public Communications Mulei Muia and Ag. Director Department of Film Services Gilbert Kibaara.
by Esther Ngatia