THE ZIMBABWE United Passenger Company (Zupco) has been measured as the least transparent public body in Zimbabwe, while the newly-established Psychomotor Activities ministry is the most open institution.
PRIVILEGE SHOKO OWN CORRESPONDENT
The Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe chapter conducted the 2014 Report on open and secretive public Institutions in Southern Africa, which was held to assess the level of transparency in the government and public institutions against international standards and principles of access to information.
“Institutions were also surveyed on their willingness to engage with the public by sending written requests for information, as well as oral requests by telephone or in person,” the report reads.
According to the survey findings, the majority of institutions remain closed when it comes to placing information in the public domain.
“For the third year running, Zupco remained the most secretive of the surveyed institutions and is still to have a functional website in addition to its failure to respond to written requests during the period under review” the report reads.
Of the 10 institutions surveyed, eight had websites, but were not regularly updated and lacked useful information.
“Zupco for instance, has a domain registered and a default page and this does not constitute a functioning website,” the report reads.
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Meanwhile, the Psychomotor Activities ministry, despite not having a website, responded well to both written and oral questions and even invited the researcher to their offices for a face-to-face interaction.
Among the surveyed institutions were the Zimbabwe Football Association, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry, the Transport and Infrastructure Development ministry and the Local Government, Rural and Urban Planning ministry. Others were Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara), Zimbabwe National Water Authority, Central Mechanical Equipment Department, Psychomotor ministry and the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry, Science and Technology ministry.
Prominent media lawyer, Chris Mhike, who gave the key note address during the launch of the 2014 report, stressed the role of the media in educating citizens on their right to access to information.
“Access to information is a human right and as such all human beings are entitled to the enjoyment of the same as the rights are universal, inalienable and indivisible,” he said.