THE dispute between Zanu PF and the MDCs over the content of the ICT ministry led by Nelson Chamisa is a sheer waste of time and energy and certainly one that does not require arbitration because the answer is in the dictionary. Â
The issue simply requires President Robert Mugabeâ€™s advisors to visit the free encyclopedia, Wikipedia for the definition of information communication technology (ICT).
Minister Chamisa can draw comfort from the fact that one of his principals, Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara is a rocket science professor who is more than capable of educating President Mugabe on ICT.
According to the free encyclopedia, Wikipedia the term is sometimes used in preference to information technology (IT), particularly in two communities: education and government.
In the common usage it is often assumed that ICT is synonymous with IT; ICT in fact encompasses any medium to record information (magnetic disk/tape, optical disks (CD/DVD), flash memory etc and arguably also paper records); technology for broadcasting information â€“â€“ radio, television; and technology for communicating through voice and sound or images â€“â€“ microphone, camera, loudspeaker, telephone to cellular phones.
ICT includes the wide variety of computing hardware (PCs, servers, mainframes, networked storage), the rapidly developing personal hardware market comprising mobile phones, personal devices, MP3 players, and much more; the full gamut of application software from the smallest home-developed spreadsheet to the largest enterprise packages and online software services; and the hardware and software needed to operate networks for transmission of information, again ranging from a home network to the largest global private networks operated by major commercial enterprises and, of course, the internet.
Thus, â€œICTâ€ makes more explicit that technologies such as broadcasting and wireless mobile telecommunications are included.
The above definition makes it clear what ICT is and what it is not. The current unnecessary dispute over the ICT ministry gives credence to the MDCâ€™s concern that some of the ministries were created to give the MDC useless posts.
However, as the late Eddison Zvobgo observed, you do not reduce great minds by giving them small or meaningless tasks.
The controversy has some unintended consequences by drawing attention to the ICT ministry: this will help to raise the profile and a better understanding of the ICT ministry because people might not have understood what it entails.