Access to information is crucial for socio-economic growth. Information and communication technology (ICT) offers a powerful tool that, if deployed equitably, can ensure citizens are empowered and Government can deliver services more efficiently, effectively and in a transparent and accountable manner.
The government has an impressive online presence, numerous websites, social media pages with active followers, some queries answered on time, but, does this translate to active citizenry? Who are these active users, urban users? What is the representation from rural areas? Could unresponsiveness be as a result of government’s non adherence to their proposed digital plan?
Kenya’s ICT Master Plan outlines the digital strategy2 needed to transform Kenya into a knowledge society and a regional ICT hub. Take a look at one of the flagship products, Huduma, against the Master plan, has it reached maturity from its inception? Pre Huduma, getting any service was dreadful, characterised by: long queues, manpower issues – lousy attitude, and inefficiencies. Fast forward to 2013, a network of government offices operated under one platform, delivered in various centres throughout the country. The outcome, hassle-free and faster service delivered to the people. Notwithstanding the accolades3, Huduma in 2017 shows little progression and one question clamours, who is responsible for following through on the digital strategy?
One of the desired outcomes in the Master ICT plan was to have 8 out of 10 users being ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of government’s electronic services. With an active citizenry online, how close is the government towards realising this goal? How does the public feel about the tools setup? Ask these questions against the backdrop that citizens’ attitudes directly impact their trust or confidence in the government.
1 Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania
2 A digital strategy is a document outlining the plan of action to be applied to transform the organisation’s processes, activities and models to leverage digital technologies. Applying the digital strategy results into digital maturity, when ICT tools have fully transformed an organisation.
3 Huduma Awards
This article was originally published here