According to the World Bank’s ease of doing business 2018 ranking, Zimbabwe gained two places to 159 out of 190.
While government has been embarking on e-governance, Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies (ZICT), a division of Zimbabwe Institution of Engineering (ZIE), decided to analyse the government websites.
ZICT judges reviewed the government websites using the following criteria — design, ease of use, copywriting, interactivity, use of technology, innovation, content, social media presence, email delivery and timespan and vulnerability.
As ZICT, we like the fact that all government websites sit on http://www.zim.gov.zw/, which should make it easy for an individual without any computer skills to be able to access and browse, but none of the links are working.
What is more embarrassing is that out of all the ministries, the ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, which is the torch bearer of government, does not have a website or web presence. Yet all media houses have a presence of some sort.
Other ministries that do not have websites or web presence include Ministry for Government Scholarships in the President’s Office, Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Government Programmes, Ministry of Women and Youth Affairs and Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology Development.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology Development, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Enterprise Development and Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare have domains registers and there is no websites or emails of these government.
Out of all the ministry websites, none of them have emails, most are not working or the delivery speed is very slow.
We could not go deeper into a detailed research, because the websites looked very similar and our conclusion pointed that it seems the sites are developed by the same individuals and hosted by Government Internet Service Provider.
There is no social media activities, the only government institution which is active is Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, which was not part of our research.
As for those ministries or departments without websites, we suggest we put your house in order and immediately have a web presence.
Taking a leaf from our neighbour South Africa, it is a requirement (government policy) for all government institutions, departments and local authorities to have a domain, email address, a website and effective use of social media to interact with partners and potential partners.
With President Emmerson Mnangagwa pushing for investments and marketing the positive image of Zimbabwe, if an investor, tourist, or a potential tourist cannot find either a government, department, business, either online or in person, you do not exist.
To achieve its goal, government must develop an online strategy to increasing the country’s online web presence.–newsday