Learner’s Submission: Data Safety in Zimbabwe

21/02/2014

“In Zimbabwe, data is very safe. The government has taken measures to ensure that data is very safe.  While many government bodies have established endpoint security policies, they do not have the right security management software and laws to enforce them. Users continue to run software that is either unauthorized or is without the latest patches, opening the doors to cyber criminals and cyber terrorists. Users can also remove data from government networks via removable devices or media and if the data is not encrypted, sensitive information can be exposed. Apart from the investment in equipment and software that protects data; the Zimbabwean government has gone a step further to use legislation that protects data. The following are existing data protection laws. The New Constitution, Courts and Adjudicating Authorities (Publicity Restrictions) Act Chapter 7:04, Census and Statistics Act Chapter 10:05, Banking Act Chapter 24:20, National Registration Act Chapter 10:17, Interception of Communications Act Chapter 11:20, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act Chapter 10:27.

The constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the right to privacy which applies to everyone.  Access to information is provided for and applies to everyone, and for information held by the State or by any person and for the latter to the extent that the information is required for the exercise or protection of a right. Courts and Adjudicating Authorities (Publicity Restrictions) Act Chapter 7:04, regulates and restricts attendance at and publication of proceedings of courts and adjudicating authorities. Section 3, restriction of disclosure of proceedings where the court or adjudicating authority considers it necessary or expedient to do so either at its instance or that of the party involved.  Publication of the name, address or other information likely to reveal the identity of any person concerned or mentioned can be withheld if it would cause prejudice or is likely to cause prejudice to the party or if it’s in the interest of justice. Census and Statistics Act provides  for  a  census  to  be  held  on  such  other  particulars whatsoever; as shall be prescribed, which involves the collection of data, Section  10:  restricts  disclosure  of  information  collected  which enables  the  identification of  the person  taking part  in  the census unless  they  are  employed  in  carrying  out  the  provisions  of  the Act Section  13  also  creates  offences  and  penalties  for  unlawful  use and disclosure of any information collected. Banking Act Chapter 24:20 Sections 76 & 77 restrict the disclosure and use of collected information by the Registrar of the Reserve Bank, his representatives or employees, a curator or an auditor of the Banking Institution, but does not however deal with the Banking Institutions specifically. National Registration Act Chapter 10:17 the Registrar-General must keep in safe custody any information acquired in the performance of his duties. All persons who are employed  in carrying out  the provisions of  the Act are  required  to keep secret and aid  in keeping secret  all  information  coming  to  their  knowledge  in  the exercise of their duties.

Interception of Communications Act Chapter 11:20 no  person  is  allowed  to  intercept  any  communication  in the course of its transmission unless, he or she is a party to the communication; or he or she has the consent of the person  to  whom,  or  the  person  by  whom,  the communication  is  sent;  or  he  or  she  is  authorized  by  a warrant. Unlawful Interception attracts a penalty of a fine of up to US$5000 or imprisonment of up to 5years. Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act Chapter 10:27 provides members of  the public with a  right of access  to records and information held by public bodies;  and makes public  bodies  accountable  by  giving  the  public  a  right  to request  correction  of  misrepresented  personal information; to prevent the unauthorized collection, use or disclosure  of  personal  information  by  public  bodies;  to protect personal privacy.” – Soul Nyangoni – Harare, Zimbabwe

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Learner’s Submission: Case Study of Decentralization in Zimbabwe

06/02/2014

“The Zimbabwean government defined decentralization as the process of transferring planning, management responsibilities, resources, and authority and or accountability arrangements from the central to sub-national or local organs of governance. Decentralization can take different forms the dispersal of central government responsibilities through de-concentration or field administration or the delegation of specialized authority to manage executive agencies to a management team or via devolution of responsibilities, human and fiscal resources to locally governing bodies that are semi-autonomous from the national government, normally referred to as local authorities or government. In 1995, the Zimbabwean government initiated the Water Resources Management Strategy in order to introduce reforms within the water sector. The Water Resource Management Strategy process, initiated in 1995 and completed in 2000, resulted in a new national Water Policy and a National Water Pricing Policy and Strategy. The reforms within the water sector were designed to reflect key Integrated Water Resource Management principles, including stakeholder participation, decentralization, and making resources available for water development and water management. The overall goal of the National Water Resources Policy is to promote the sustainable, efficient and integrated utilization of water resources for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. Under decentralization, the government of Zimbabwe delegated the authority of water management to councils, councils had to develop water outline plans, issue permits, regulate water use and perform other water-related activities as required by the central government. The Catchment Councils delegate some activities to the Sub-Catchment Councils, although these activities do not include allocating water permits.

Under this, the Zimbabwean government had to allocate the Ministry of Rural Resources and Infrastructural Development as the custodian of water rights and develops policies on water development and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA)  which acts as an operator and a regulator. ZINWA is responsible for water supply to urban centres, while the municipalities supply water to smaller urban settlements. Rural water supply and sanitation is coordinated by the National Action Committee for Water and Sanitation, which is an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Minister of Local Government .The seven Catchment Councils established under the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Act are responsible for all aspects of water management within their responsive catchment areas. However, this has seen the management of water as a resources not being centrally managed. Authority has been given to sub governmental units and the councils to manage the water. With such decentralization, councils can engage the community in managing the water and in decision making regarding water issues. ” – Soul Nyangoni – Harare, Zimbabwe


Learner’s Submission: Social Media Channels in Zimbabwe

05/02/2014

“Social media refers to internet services and mobile phone applications used for the generation, dissemination information. When a government has obtained knowledge it must be managed so that it can easily be obtained by those who need it. This overload of data is making knowledge management increasingly more important. Three key reasons why actively managing knowledge is important to Zimbabwe’s government’s success are to facilitate decision-making capabilities, build a learning country and to stimulate cultural change and innovation.  Zimbabwe uses television, radios and the internet as its social media channels.  The Zimbabwean government has realized that social media technologies allow for television and radio to be accessed and shared in a variety of ways. Viewers can actively participate while watching a program and have their interactions viewed and responded to in real time by other viewers. Technologies such as smart phones and laptops allow for these actions to occur anytime, anywhere. The Zimbabwean government has used the television and to some extent the radio to disseminate information across the country. The radio and television are used to disseminate educational and developmental information on critical areas such as agriculture and mining. This growth of internet access via mobile phones has led to much more use of social media by public sector organizations. This is part of a wider shift in greater openness around communications channels in Zimbabwe. Social media is becoming an increasingly popular set of channels for Zimbabwean government to use in their communication and engagement mix because, they provide a cost effective means of engaging with an audience, more and more people across different demographics are using social media; and they are simple to set up and use. The government has realized that each and very Zimbabwean must receive or must have access to important information irrespective of race, social status, industry and geographical locations. Information is power and has enhanced the development of the Zimbabwean community.” – Soul Nyangoni – Harare, Zimbabwe


Learner’s Submission: HR Capacity Development in Zimbabwe

27/01/2014

“What needs to be done by top leadership to align Human Resource Capacity Development with the development vision of the country?

In any country, the leaders need to do a needs assessment and a skills audit of its strategic departments or ministries. The needs assessment is a systematic process for determining what is required by an organization or country in terms of skill and the current skills. The difference is known as the skills gap. This discrepancy between the current condition and wanted condition must be measured to appropriately identify the training and development needs. In other words, the needs assessment will help in the setting of what needs to be achieved or in setting country vision. Having set the country vision, leaders will need to do a skills audits, a skills audit is a review of existing skills against the skills needed both now and in the future so as to achieve country goals. Any leader firstly need to be aware of the skills required to meet the requirements of its government departments or the government and the country as a whole. Once realized that the current skill does not meet the current requirement and that staff is not performing to the expected standards, what is known as performance gaps hence, the need for capacity development through training and development.

Training and development is a combination of in-house or on the job training and other forms of training and development techniques that are used to develop human capital so that they remain competitive and meet expected performance standard on their current jobs as well as preparing them for future roles and responsibilities. However, in training and development, leaders need to seriously understand the strategic role of training in terms of how will the training help the individual, the community, the government as well as the country as a whole.

As a nation, leader need to be very aware that in capacity development, they must also develop team building, national goals can not be achieved by one person or a few individuals, it takes a lot of energy and requires high levels of commitment in achieving national goals and a pool of human capital working together as a team can achieve set objectives . With this in mind, leaders must take note that capacity development must not be limited to government official and workers only; it must stretch as far as developing the community. The community must be equipped with skills that enhance the development of the community. Government officials, workers and the community must have one understanding of what needs to be achieved, they need to be developed in terms of skills so that they can achieve national goals.

In conclusion, the quality of employees and their development through training and development are major factors in determining long-term strategic objectives of the country. If you hire and keep good employees, it is good policy to invest in the development of their skills, so they can increase their productivity. Training often is considered for new employees only. This is a mistake because ongoing training for current employees helps them adjust to rapidly changing job requirements the community needs to be trained as well.” – Soul Nyangoni – Harare, Zimbabwe


Learner’s Submission: Result-Based Monitoring and Evaluation System in Zimbabwe

20/01/2014

“The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that UN Member States have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, commits world leaders to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. However, for head of states to achieve the set goals they need an effective monitoring and evaluation system that is result oriented.

There is a lack of project management capacity in international development projects.  A good RBME is an ongoing system. This means that there is constant feedback, learning and improving. Existing plans are regularly modified based on the lessons learned through monitoring and evaluation, and future plans are developed based on these lessons. Results based monitoring is also an ongoing process. The lessons from monitoring are discussed periodically and used to inform actions and decisions. Results based evaluations should be done for programmatic improvements while the program is still ongoing and also inform the planning of new programs. This ongoing process of doing, learning and improving is what is referred to as the RBME approach. Learning not only helps improve results from existing programs and projects, but also enhances the capacity of the organization and individuals to make better decisions in the future and improves the formulation of future programs and projects.

Clovgate Elevator Company is company in Zimbabwe, s involved in the installation, upgrades, service and maintenance of Elevators and Escalators in the southern region of Africa. Clovgate Elevator Company has been and it’s trying to improve the lives of Zimbabweans by installing elevators at hospitals, clinics and government buildings.  This company is involved in carrying out multiple projects at once; by so doing the organization as adopted the results based monitoring and evaluation system. The adoption of the results based monitoring and evaluation system has also necessitated the setting up of the projects and programs monitoring and evaluation departments in our organization. In setting up the RBME, the organization has done what is known as an integrated approach in RBME meaning that everyone or each and every department in the organization must adopt the RBME towards the achievement of organizational objectives. This approach can transfer the sophistication of information into structure, form, grouping, reporting and process that would allow all stakeholders to understand, communicate and exchange experience and knowledge. Since the organization adopted an integrated approach, each and every individual in organization and all departments are users of the RBME system. The RBME System was put in place so that everyone, each and every department in the organization should self monitoring and evaluation to allow performance improvement prior to results publication. In case of one department fails, RBME can predict failure and allows time to improve on performance prior to performance review. This performance review process could be applied by departments to report their achievements.

The  RBME system at Clovgate  comprises  of  a  Results-Based  Budgeting  (RBB)  system,  Results-Based  Personnel  Performance System (RBPPS) and Results Based Operations Management System (RBOMS). The  above  systems are  deemed  critical  to  assist the organization  in  conducting  systematic  program  planning,  formulation  and implementation which  in  turn  is  expected  to  improve  the performance of the organization.

The interest of our organization in pursuing RBME is that many complex, long-term projects fail to live up to their promises and produce disappointing outcomes on completion. Some of these are well-known for exceeding their budgets or deadlines or both.  Publicly available statistics of project failures vary dramatically in their estimates and do not include confidential data from private corporations so are not an entirely reliable guide.

Results-Based Monitoring and evaluation enhances the effectiveness of your organization by establishing clear links between past, present and future interventions and results. Results-Based Monitoring and evaluation can help an organization to extract, from past and ongoing activities, relevant information that can subsequently be used as the basis for programmatic fine-tuning, reorientation and planning. Without results-based monitoring and evaluation, it would be impossible to judge if work was going in the right direction, whether progress and success could be claimed, and how future efforts might be improved.” – Soul Nyangoni – Harare, Zimbabwe


Learner’s Submission: What are the Social Media Used by Your Government, Why are They Important

06/05/2013

“Social media are platforms that connect people and allow them to engage, for example, Facebook, micro-blogs like Twitter, Wikis, Podcasts and Discussion forums. They can allow targeted organization dialogue and sharing. Comments and links may also be shared.

The Zimbabwe government mostly uses interactive websites and Facebook for its agencies. Ministry Of Education Sport and Culture and The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority are examples of government’s arms available on Facebook. Promotion of government information services is augmented by the use of such media. The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has been mandated with marketing the country as a tourism destination and their availability on Facebook is instrumental in disseminating issues like cultural, upcoming events, places to visit information to both local and international publics.

Advantages of using social media include the fact that ,they facilitate government agencies interaction directly with their audiences without the encumbrances of going through mainstream media. Agencies do not have to struggle to get coverage, they create it themselves. This gives them greater control of their communications needs. Citizens engagement is also increased.

National emergency messaging is facilitated by social media. The general public is warned of impending natural disasters in time. Necessary precautions are taken to minimize casualties or avoid them altogether.

Social media expand outreach capabilities of branches of government. In places where non-electronic media like flyers and newsletters cannot be conveniently distributed, wikis, podcasts and facebook may be used. Ability to interact with and serve the public has been increased. There are opportunities for everyone to leave a comment, make a suggestion or ask a question and relevant people and or  authority can respond on the Zimbabwe government interactive websites .It is now possible for individuals to look for job openings on these sites. Using social media is faster and convenient for the public in terms of sending and receiving information. In the near future, it is possible that our government will adopt online renewal of passports and licenses.

Interagency and intergovernmental networking sites also promote co-operation across governments. Internal sites establish connections across traditionally geographically dispersed organizations.

Social media respects learning styles of various individuals. Some prefer audio, some video while others like to read.

It is becoming more and more clear that transaction costs of bringing people together to discuss, facilitate and implement policy are approaching zero because of the low costs involved. As such ,it is becoming more and more clear that social media are important in our societies and will continue to expand in usage as greater numbers of people become acquainted with them.” – Betwell Moyo – Gweru, Zimbabwe


Learner’s Submission: Suggestions for Online Services in Zimbabwe

16/11/2011

“On this submission I will be focusing on my native country Zimbabwe, where virtually there are no online public services offered by the government.

Following the setting up of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2009 as a positive outcome of good Crisis Diplomacy by the parties involved, the people of Zimbabwe had so much hope in the new political dispensation. But sadly the GNU in Zimbabwe still lags behind in terms of offering its citizens services online.

In my opinion, I would like to see the following service being offered online in Zimbabwe:

  1. Tax e-filing system to be administered by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRE) to specifically deal with online tax administration services such as online tax filing and registration, e-VAT administration, e-tax submissions, and e-customs duty management. Individuals and companies would be allowed to log into the ZIMRE website and create accounts with log in details and passwords and get unique reference details once their online registrations have been approved. Then they will have to confirm and activate their online accounts of which they would also get a website link to use in the future. This would effectively eliminate delays associated with tax collections and submissions and improve Zimbabwe’s tax revenue collection capacity.
  2. An Electronic Trade and Industry Marketing Agency must be introduced to, amongst other things, provide online trade information services such as import and export opportunities, business registration requirements, official business policy documents, contact details of various Trade and Industry Agencies and contact persons and tax incentives for starting businesses in that country to potential foreign investors. Interested parties with web access can access the website and subscribe the to Agency’s monthly Trade newsletters which would be distributed through an e-mailing system.
  3. Through the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), an Electronic National Crime Command Centre must be established tasked with providing online crime reports and statistics as well as online detailed information on the most wanted criminals, as and when that information is recorded, approved and/or declassified for public access purposes. Anyone with web access must be able to subscribe to e-mail newsletters and have the information sent conveniently. This would help foster regional and international collaboration with other Law Enforcement Agencies on crime fighting and terrorism.
  4. An Online National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) should be established and managed by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to ensure that all the citizens get access to medical and surgical treatment whenever required. This Fund ought to make use of medical cards with magnetic stripes, which can be swiped on an electronic device and enable medical staff to get instant online medical information of the patients on a computer screen. As such, a proper electronic patients information database should be put in place and properly managed first before the full implementation of the Fund.
  5. Through the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), an electronic voting system must be put in place, to widely cater for the millions of displaced Zimbabwean citizens living in the diasporas, who are often unable to go back to their home country and cast their votes due to political violence that is always encountered in that country.  E-voting stations and electoral centers should be set up in the major cities of foreign countries where there are large concentrations of the Diasporas. These should be equipped with computers and voting assistants to help its citizens electronically register to vote, inspect the voters’ roll, cast their electronic votes and the centers would publish the electronic results. An Electronic Electoral Monitoring Unit which must comprise of election observers from the SADC region and other International Interested Parties such as the UN, EU and donor countries should be established, to an play advisory role and ensure transparency of the whole exercise.
  6. The Zimbabwean parliament should go online to increase online civic participation in bills under debate in paliarment, make available online newly passed bills, treaties, amendments to the constitution and the whole constitution in PDF. This would make it possible for its citizens make print outs for educational and analytical purposes. A knowledgeable citizenry can properly exercise their rights and overall become law-abiding citizens and take part in law-formulation processes. Sharing knowledge is power.
  7. In conclusion, a National Cyber Monitoring and Regulatory Board (NCMRB) has got to be established, comprised of patriotic IT experts and parliamentarians tasked with the mandate of analyzing global trends of e-governments, identify new opportunities for further e-government development and align them to local needs and aspirations and further formulate strategies for dealing with challenges brought about by changing trends. These strategies should be incorporated into the government’s decision-making systems which form part of its knowledge management programs.

This board should report directly to parliament and further play a major role in advising and assisting parliament with the procurement of proper ICT equipment and the formulation of laws that regulate electronic commerce. Special attention should be given to authenticity, privacy and security laws as these do have a direct effect on the e-government hemisphere. The Computer Society of Zimbabwe should be involved in each and every initiative of the board to make sure that International technical and security quality standards are ever maintained.

Finally, total political commitment from the top strata of the GNU is vitally needed if such an e-government programme is to bear meaningful fruits.” – Butholezwe Bhebhe – Johannesburg, South Africa


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