Govt takes ICTs to the peo­ple

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Har­mony Agere

PRES­I­DENT Mu­gabe not only dis­played his easy-go­ing na­ture when he, in the mid­dle of a speech at the of­fi­cial open­ing of Dangamvura In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre last week, made ref­er­ence to a lizard inch­ing to­wards him as he spoke.

“Heroka dzvinyu ririk­u­famba, ririkuda kun­zwa, kuda ku­tapa zvandiri ku­taura,” he smiled, elic­it­ing laugh­ter from the crowd.

And as if he was not the orig­i­na­tor of the ban­ter, the Pres­i­dent seam­lessly re­verted to his speech with char­ac­ter­is­tic charm­ing wit.

The iconic ed­u­ca­tion­ist is never short of hu­mour, even when pre­sid­ing over some­thing as im­por­tant as spread­ing the IT rev­o­lu­tion across Zim­babwe.

The Dangamvura In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre was opened ahead of the Pres­i­den­tial Youth In­ter­face Rally at Sakubva Sta­dium that af­ter­noon.

This was the third such cen­tre that Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe opened af­ter oth­ers in Murombedzi and Masvingo.

The three are amongst 80 cen­tres con­structed by the ICT and Courier Ser­vices Min­istry in part­ner­ship with Zar­net.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe — a for­mer teacher — un­der­scored that com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion cen­tres played a ma­jor role in mod­ern ed­u­ca­tion, par­tic­u­larly for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“We have had dis­cus­sions with Cde (Supa) Mandi­wanzira (the ICT Min­is­ter) to say let’s give young peo­ple fa­cil­i­ties which will en­able them to get ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion,” said the Pres­i­dent.

“We had a talk, and he was say­ing we want you to open the in­for­ma­tion cen­tre be­fore go­ing to the rally in Sakubva, so that is why we are here to­day. I want to say con­grat­u­la­tions to him and con­grat­u­la­tions to you also the peo­ple of Dangamvura, you now have an in­for­ma­tion cen­tre. It is our hope that the fa­cil­ity will not be abused and will be used for its in­tended pur­poses.”

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe im­plored the ICT Min­istry to work with the Min­istry of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion to equip ru­ral schools with mod­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tions fa­cil­i­ties.

Min­is­ter Mandi­wanzira pledged to con­tinue work­ing with his Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion coun­ter­part Dr Lazarus Dokora, say­ing 1 500 schools would - start­ing this month - have In­ter­net ac­cess in­stalled.

“Start­ing this month we will be in­stalling in­ter­net in about 1 500 schools. We have al­ready se­cured fund­ing from Po­traz and Zar­net will be do­ing the con­struc­tion. We are also work­ing with the Min­istry of Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion, so that in the schools that they are in­stalling com­put­ers, un­der the Pres­i­dent’s e-learn­ing pro­gramme, we fol­low up and in­stall in­ter­net,” he said.

On the Dangamvura cen­tre, Min­is­ter Mandi­wanzira said the fa­cil­ity was equipped with lap­tops, print­ing ma­chines and WiFi.

“Dangamvura Com­mu­nity In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre is one of the 80 com­mu­nity cen­tres that have been built in the coun­try in the last six months,” he said. “This one was a post of­fice and it had de­te­ri­o­rated into de­plorable con­di­tions but we man­aged to re­sus­ci­tate it.”

Murombedzi Com­mu­nity In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre, launched by Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe in 2014, is also one-stop ICT shop which of­fers In­ter­net ac­cess, pho­to­copy­ing, print­ing, scan­ning, fax­ing, lam­i­nat­ing and gam­ing ser­vices.

The same con­cept has been rolled out in Mubaira, Mu­ram­binda, Ngundu, Maphisa, Gokwe, Dotito, Sadza, Lu­pane, among other ar­eas.

Ac­cord­ing to Zar­net, “the over­all aim of es­tab­lish­ing com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion cen­tres is to achieve eq­uity of ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion, thereby bridge the dig­i­tal di­vide be­tween ur­ban and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties”.

ICTs can avail in­for­ma­tion rel­e­vant for agri­cul­ture, pro­cess­ing, mar­ket­ing, trans­port, food stor­age, ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, dis­ease con­trol and en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment among other ar­eas.

Com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion cen­tres also come in handy for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties where the Pri­mary and Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry has started elec­tronic ap­pli­ca­tions (e-map) to se­cure en­rol­ment.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe high­lighted that with­out in­for­ma­tion, ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties were ham­pered from fully par­tic­i­pat­ing in their own devel­op­ment.

The Pres­i­dent capped the cer­e­mony by do­nat­ing com­put­ers to 20 schools in Mutare.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe of­fi­cially open­ing Dangamvura Com­mu­nity In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre in Mutare last week

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