The Information Communications and Technology (ICT) Principal Secretary (CS), Jerome Ochieng on Monday re-affirmed the government’s commitment to revamping government communication.
Speaking in Nairobi during the ongoing submissions to the David Makali-led taskforce on improving government communication at Teleposta Towers, Jerome said that communication is so critical in packaging the Jubilee administration’s Big 4 Agenda.
The PS emphasized the need for the taskforce to urgently identify the gaps within government communication to enable government address citizen’s interests in ensuring effective communication.
“The element of effective communication has been missing. We are taking the task force seriously and we will give it every available support to ensure it succeeds,” said the PS.
While giving their submissions, Information Officers and Public Communication Officers were in agreement that the ministry needs constant retooling and training to enable officers be in tandem with the current information dispensation.
The Senior Assistant Director of Information, Mose Orare,proposed restructuring of the Department of Information by collapsing its operational units, and added that Kenya News Agency (KNA) be renamed Kenya News and Information Service to ensure its proper branding.
“KNA makes huge contribution to both County and National Government. Rebranding it will help improve on marketing and advertisement to make it reach large numbers of people,” recommended Orare.
He stated that Departmental publications like Mawasiliano as well as Mobile cinemas need to be revamped and rebranded as they bring information that are County specific and this makes government information seen and felt.
“Kenyans do not like free things, they do not take them seriously. The publications must also come with a cover price to cater for publication funds as well as give them seriousness,” added Orare.
He observed that KNA information and stories’ outlets are so limited limiting its intended purpose of delivering satisfactory information to citizens.
“This initiative was established decades ago, equipment and persons are available and the only thing that’s needed is someone to re-ignite what had been started,” he stated while adding that human and resource capacity has been dwindling overtime.
The Chief Information Officer, Ahosi K’obonyo on his submission said that KNA is still relevant because of its tailored County stories to deliver appropriate news to the citizens.
In their submissions, Public Communication Officers decried stagnation that has continued for decades, saying that this has led to low morale and demotivation among them.
Led by Energy Public Communication Officer, Moses Nyandika the PCOs further called for policy framework review that will anchor and position them in law as public relations practitioners.
Nyandika also highlighted the issue of Government Spokesperson who he said has created redundancies in terms of communicating government agendas even by the PCOs themselves.
The 19-member task force was constituted by the Ministry of Information and Technology Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru, to improve government information and public communication.
The team will be tasked with studying and reviewing existing policies and laws and align them with the emerging public dynamics and expectations.
By Gworo Alice