Mukudzei Chingwere-Herald Reporter
The Second Republic’s policy of opening up about governance issues in order to encourage openness and transparency has received the validation of a United Nations (UN) agency – the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Weekly post Cabinet media briefings were singled out for special praise by the UNDP when its resident representative in Zimbabwe, Mia Seppo paid a courtesy call on Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa at her offices yesterday.
The UNDP representative met the Minister and the permanent secretary, Mr Nick Mangwana and they discussed various issues including areas of collaboration the agency is working with Zimbabwe.
UNDP is a UN body tasked with helping countries eliminate poverty and achieve sustainable economic growth and human development.
President Mnangagwa’s administration has prioritised timeous information dissemination at the post cabinet briefs, the nation is briefed on decisions of Cabinet and this has been commended.
“This was a courtesy call on the Minister and the PS, we discussed a range of issues and we very much looked into the progress made in the past years in terms of the regular cabinet briefs,” said UNDP representative Seppo.
“Which I think is excellent for everybody to get immediate information on what has been discussed, very good summaries.
“Looking ahead in terms of making sure that there is an open media space thus access to both public and private media and I was briefed on some of the changes that have been introduced in legislation to make sure there is a climate of free and fair media as well as freedom of expression.”
Zimbabwe has since opened media space by giving licences to six new free-to-air private television stations joining ZBCTV and ending the 64-year monopoly enjoyed by the State-owned broadcaster.
The move effectively frees the airwaves, with private television stations joining private radio stations as the Second Republic implements a raft of political, economic and social reforms to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030.
Since 1956, Zimbabwe had only one television service but upon assuming office in 2018, officials in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services pledged to license more.
The UNDP representative Seppo said she also discussed joint interest for the UN and for UNDP with Minister Mutsvangwa and also commended the trust of the National Development Strategy 1 which seeks to take development to every part of the country by leaving no one behind.
The UNDP representative said they are the principal recipient of the global fund which is being given to support the country’s response to HIV and tuberculosis and noted that they have a good relationship with the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Minister Mutsvangwa said she opened up on the mandate of the ministry and also told the visiting envoy the policy of the ministry which is an open door.
“Our mandate is to inform, educate and entertain, to ensure all the projects our government is doing and which our partners are doing are given visibility.
“She was interested to know our policy and our policy is an open door policy, we work with all media in the country when it comes to media coverage.
“There is fair media coverage in this country, we make sure that we deal with dis-information, fake news by constantly feeding the Zimbabwean people with the rightful narrative,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.