In a letter dated June 16, 2016 and addressed to the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, President Museveni has tasked the new Ministry of Information, ICT and Communication, which was formed after a restructuring that combined the Ministries of Information and National Guidance and ICT, with ensuring effective government communication.
The letter reads as follows:
As you are aware, I restructured the Ministries of Information and National Guidance and ICT to form one Ministry of Information, ICT and Communications. The reasons are mainly to facilitate effective communication of government programs in all the many communication platforms (TVs, Radios, Newspapers, Social Media etc), rule out duplication of roles among government agencies of communication and ensure easy coordination of all government communication players.
This is, therefore, to direct as follows:
- That you work with Ministers of ICT and Public Service to effect this restructuring.The following departments and agencies must all be moved to the new Communication Ministry for better supervision. These include: Media Centre, New Vision, UCC, UBC, NITA-U, Media Council and Broadcasting Council. The new Minister of Communication, Information and ICT should review the mandates of all those bodies and ensure there is no duplication of roles. Where duplication exists, the affected agencies should be merged.
- I have also been made to understand that one of the reasons why why the media reports irresponsibly and pays no attention to the enormous achievements of the government is due to lack of content about the government achievements. Civil servants do not share widely and publicize information about government programmes. This is wrong. How then will the public know what the priorities of government are? Cause the new Minister of Information Communication and ICT to to bring a cabinet paper detailing measures on how to improve government communication. One of the measures for example is to provide for communications officers in every Ministry, whose full-time job is to gather content about government programmes financed in the budget and have it disseminated. Those communication officers should be supervised by the Ministry of Communication just like accountants and protocol officers are supervised by Ministry of Finance and Foreign Affairs respectively.
- With the implementation of the backbone, Internet users have now increased to about 13 million. The new Ministry of Communications, ICT and Information should ensure that each ministry and government department has up-to-date online ICT infrastructure (websites and social media pages). Duplication of ICT programmes on the other hand in different ministries and departments should stop. Let the new Ministry of Communications take lead in multi-ICT innovations that can be used by all government agencies in a linked manner/system as was the case with for the ID project (Electoral Commission, Immigration, etc.). I think this is what is called e-government.
Effective government will not only foster public accountability but also help guide the citizens on their own roles in as far as wealth creation is concerned. The public must know through all these radios and platforms of communication, what government’s role (Lubimbi) is and what their own is. It is mainly awareness and advocacy that is lacking.