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State set to speak in one voice

BUSINESS
By | October 29th 2010

By Sam Otieno

The Government has set up an inter-ministerial team of communication experts to come up with a clear strategy that will ensure the state speaks in one voice.

Members of the taskforce have began collecting views from various stakeholders in a bid to come up with a strategy to curb the incoherent communication process that currently exists in government.

Under the theme of “One Government, one voice”, the taskforce will come up with the strategy within the next 12 months to prepare and oversee the implementation of the strategy to streamline the information flow from state departments to the people.

A gazette notice signed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga dated September 2010 mandates Rogers Hadao, a senior Deputy Secretary in the Prime Ministers office to head it.

The move has been necessitated by the requirement of the new constitution that mandates the state to provide constant information on its operations to the public.

“Section 35 of the new constitution says every citizen has a right to access information held by the sate and this is in preparation to ensure that we adhere to this,” said Hadao.

Speaking during a breakfast meeting with the Editors Guild, Hado who led his taskforce members said his team will recommend broad policy and strategy guidelines aimed at realising a more professional approach to government engagement with the public.

“It is expected that the taskforce will undertake various stakeholder consultations in order to arrive at a consensus on guidelines that can strengthen government-wide communication while also enabling leaders to speak with one voice,” said Hadao.

Information and Communication Minister Samuel Poghisio will officially inaugurate the taskforce next Tuesday, a forum that is expected to bring onboard stakeholders.

A major conference will however take place in Mombasa mid November to discuss emerging opportunities for communication for development under the new constitutional dispensation.

Mr Mutegi Njau who is a member of the Editors Guild said it is time the government put the incoherent communication to a stop.

He singled out the functions of the Government spokesman Alfred Mutua of being fond of making statements that normally contradicts others that come from the same government.

“When Mutua speaks, he seems to cloud, or contradict a statement that has come from another wing of the government,” said Njau.

Part of the communication strategy will be to ensure that members of the public get access to various documents that contain government policies as well as economic and development and strategic plans.

Publisher Barrack Muluka accused Mutua of covering up government deeds.

“By default, I find myself as the alternative government spokesman to give people the other side of the story,” he said.

Deputy Solicitor General Mrs Muthoni Kimani said it is time the government puts its house in order to ensure a smooth communications flow.

“There has been disjointed efforts to provide communication to people since people are still in the old mode that this information is secret,” she said.

Mrs zarrina Kassu said it is time the Code of Regulation that govern public servants is reviewed to ensure communication flows easily.

“Each ministry needs to have a spokesperson speak without the fear of getting a sack,” said Zarina.

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