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Speech by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe Honourable
Morgan Richard Tsvangirai at the Zimbabwe ICT Achievers Awards ceremony,
Crown Plaza Monomotapa Hotel
December 11, 2011
of Information Communication Technology, Hon. Nelson Chamisa
Government Ministers and Deputy Ministers here present,
Senior Government officials
ICT sector stakeholders,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am humbled
by your invitation that you extended to me to be among Achievers
tonight and for that reason I can proudly call myself also an achiever.
It would have been strange, Hon. Minister Chamisa, for you to have
invited an under-achiever to a gathering of achievers.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I salute those individuals and organisations who have excelled and
have contributed meaningfully to the development of our nation through
ICTs who will be crowned 2011 achievers tonight knowing fully well
that this is by no means a small feat. It is a great achievement
to lead the pack in a year filled with challenges and inhibitions,
some legal and some policy related.
If the transitional
arrangement were to be measured by the same yardstick, I am not
sure if our inclusive Government would also receive the Achievers
The first few
months of the consummation of the Inclusive
Government, saw progress in delivery of basic services especially
in the social sectors, water and sanitation, health and education.
Political Agreement has, however not been a very successful
story particularly because there are people determined to undermine
the inclusive Government for their selfish ends. So many gaps for
fulfilling the letter and spirit of the agreement still remain.
Failure to adhere
to democratic principles and a deliberate appetite to collapse the
inclusive Government, have all but slowed down progress.
and Gentlemen, despite the Ministry of ICT existing for only three
years, it has been one of the shining stars of this Government.
The Ministry has made significant progress in bringing services
to the people and contributing to the economy in general.
together with its stakeholders have worked hard to register the
growth that has been registered so far in the sector.
these is the ICT penetration rates which currently stand at 63 percent
for mobile, up from 13 percent in 2008, 15 percent internet, and
3 percent for fixed telephony. Thus there has been improved access
and usage of telecommunication services in Zimbabwe. Even in rural
and farming communities mobile phones are now common.
I applaud you,
Honourable Minister Chamisa, and your team and all stakeholders,
for the hard work and cooperation that you have invested to achieve
The latest ICT
development index published by the International Telecommunications
Union (ITU) shows that Zimbabwe has moved up four places in terms
of information and communication technology access and usage. Zimbabwe
moved up four places from a ranking of 128 in 2008 to 124 in 2010.
the ITU, Zimbabwe's mobile penetration rates jumped by more
than 30 percent in 2010 and this jump in mobile penetration according
to the ITU report globally, Zimbabwe is in the top ten economies
with the greatest 2008-2010 change in the ICT Development Index
(IDI) access sub-index.
from 149th in 2008 to 133rd position in 2010 in terms of access
to fixed telephone access, Internet bandwidth per user, proportion
of households with a computer and proportion of households with
Internet access at home.
Although we applaud this positive development, we must all agree
that this is not the best and let us all strive to do more.
in the ICT industry should be harnessed for greater economic transformation.
The upward movement in mobile penetration and ICT development is
an indicator that our economy has inherent growth features that
can translate this economy from the myriad of problems that we are
facing to one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
To fast track
the growth of the ICTs sector Government is finalising the ICT Bill.
The Draft Bill is before Cabinet and I undertake to ensure that
the Bill is finalised urgently so that Zimbabwe is not held back
from development that is guaranteed by moving together with the
global family. The ICT Bill is long overdue.
For us to take
advantage of this positive development, Government must develop
policies, legal frameworks and strategies that stimulate and promote
the use of ICTs, policies that attract investment, and policies
that are in sync with international best practices.
I am alive to
the fact that some members of the inclusive Government are suspicious
of ICT players and this has resulted in delays in some key projects
that would have transformed this nation into a knowledge based economy.
For fear of
an informed citizenry, some have hindered progress in this critical
sector and have made ICT sector stakeholders' operations difficult,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
we are gathered here today to honour those among us who have taken
it upon themselves to develop Zimbabwe. We all applaud those individuals
who have committed themselves to see a better Zimbabwe that is information
information is the lifeblood of a democratic society. Without information,
individuals and Government officials simply cannot make informed
decisions. Democratic values cannot thrive in a closed society where
only a few elite access information.
is power that is why autocratic regimes control the tools of communication.
They plug, seek to control, monitor and seek to keep the people
excluded from circle of knowledge.
They fight communication
channels, devise policies that are retrogressive in nature that
seek to inhibit information gathering but beef up their own centres
of information, which they control.
is little transparency and limited scope for public scrutiny, public
officials are able to hide or cover up corrupt practices and blunders.
In the recent
past we have seen the closure of democratic space, closure of newspapers
and recently you have all witnessed gross injustice in the awarding
of radio licenses by an illegally constituted Broadcasting Authority
of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Board.
by the BAZ board to grant two radio licences to Zimpapers and AB
Communications is a farce that flies in the face of true media reforms
and media plurality in Zimbabwe.
to the Global Political Agreement are seized with this matter because
we cannot continue to perpetuate injustice and exclusion of our
people from the right to gather and communicate information.
The right to
information and freedom of expression form some of the core principles
of a healthy democracy.
should have access, in their own language, to information and this
means that information should be made available through a wide range
of channels, including the mass media and new technologies such
as the Internet.
We must embrace
the concept of new media as a tool for communication.
This is where
ICTs, the technologies that are used for collecting, storing, editing
and communicating information in various forms, become important.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
we are gathered here to honour those who seek to develop these communication
tools used for the benefit of our people.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) Achievers Awards are
an opportunity for the endeavours of the ICT players to be recognised.
with thirteen categories this year, are the Ministry's way
of appreciating the efforts of those operating in the ICT Industry
and this will hopefully stimulate renewed thrust for excellence
and use of ICTs to improve business operations and ultimately people's
I notice that
the Ministry participated in a number of local and international
exhibitions this year in a bid to demystify ICTs and to promote
the correct use of ICT s while conscientising people particularly
children on the dangers of misuse of ICTs.
Among some of
the Ministry's projects that I admire most is the "One
Lab per School" project, which is being done in conjunction
with the Ministry of Education, Sport, Art and Culture.
all stakeholders to provide equitable access to ICTs enabled education
and training in all schools.
is also working together with the Ministry of Finance to complete
the resuscitation of the Public Finance Management System (PFMS)
wide area network in line with the government policy of ensuring
that every ministry transacts through the PFMS.
has been laid from Harare to Mutare through the Forbes Border Post
to connect to the undersea cables via Mozambique.
Currently the fibre is being laid between Harare and Bulawayo and
it is expected that the connection will have reached Bulawayo by
the first quarter of 2012.
framework has since been developed. The aim behind the development
of e-government is to provide government services electronically
so that there is proliferation of e-services so that citizens begin
to get services on-line and thereby reduce the time citizens are
spending in queues awaiting to be served.
being offered at the ICT School at Central Computing Services under
the Ministry of ICT is commended but Government cannot achieve this
mammoth task alone. The private sector through some PPPs could step
in so that the over 200 000 civil servants are skilled in ICTs.
I am happy that the top leadership in government is very receptive
to this training with some of them already undergoing training.
Lest I be judged,
I have recently opened a Skype account and you can follow me on
Twitter. I am in the process of finalising my Facebook account,
so very soon I will be on all social platforms. I will announce
details in the not too distant future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
it is my singular honour and privilege to congratulate this year's
Achievers. I wish you all the best and hope that we will see you
on the podium again next year.
Let me also
take this opportunity to wish you al a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous
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