THE Primary and Secondary Education ministry and the Public Service Commission are the most secretive State departments, as they allegedly refuse to give information to the public or media houses, according to a Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)-Zimbabwe 2017 study of government ministries and parastatals.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The results are part of an annual study conducted by Misa in the region titled Transparency Assessment. The results were announced by Misa-Zimbabwe to mark Information Day commemorations.
“For the second year running, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry was the most secretive institution with a total score of six points. The ministry did not respond to written requests for information and the website remains badly managed,” Misa-Zimbabwe said.
“The Public Service Commission closely trailed behind, scoring 12 out of 40, displaying a similar reluctance in responding to information requests.”
Other departments, however, shone like beacons in a wilderness, such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.
“Based on this, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is the most open public institution; it scored a total of 29 points. The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe came in second place with 27 overall points,” the report said.
“The ZHRC had a functioning, interactive website and promptly responded to questions furnished by the researcher, through a designated communications officer.”
Misa-Zimbabwe said laws like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act should be removed, or at least be amended so that they are infused with provisions that compel public bodies to regularly and proactively release public information.
“In addition, national laws related to freedom of information, freedom of the media and freedom of expression must be consistent with the provisions of the Constitution,” the media body said.