Ministers’/spokespersons’ accessibility rated

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JOURNALISTS in Zimbabwe have long been fighting for greater access to information, especially from public institutions.

Report by Staff Writers

Misa-Zimbabwe says the right to know or freedom of information is a fundamental human right that is imperative for both citizens and the media. Affirming this principle, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights under Article 9 states that “Every individual shall have the right to receive information…”

Below, Zimbabwe Independent journalists assess the level of accessibility of ministers and party spokespersons and the usefulness of information they provided to them in 2012. Here is how we rated them, along with comments on how some of them can be more useful.

Most accessible
Patrick Chinamasa: The Justice and Legal Affairs minister even returns calls and is always ready to comment on matters under his jurisdiction. Very honest in his comments.

David Coltart: The Education, Sport and Culture minister is commendably professional and well informed about issues in his ministry. He is also available on Tweeter, Facebook and other social networks.

Welshman Ncube: The Industry and Commerce minister is also available on social networks where he shares information with the public. Always willing to comment on issues that come under his ministry.

Walter Mzembi: The Tourism and Hospitality minister is always readily available and willing to comment on issues pertinent to his ministry.
Eric Matinenga: The Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister is extremely professional and honest, and returns calls. Very well versed with what is happening in his ministry.

Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga: The Regional Integration and International Cooperation is always ready to comment. Pity she has very little on her plate.

Rugare Gumbo: The Zanu PF spokesperson is professional and does not hold grudges no matter how much you write criticising his party. He never takes things personally and is readily available to all media houses.

George Charamba: The Presidential spokesperson does not hold grudges and takes criticism in his stride.

Nhlanhla Dube: The MDC spokesperson has rectified his weakness of posting comments which would have been solicited exclusively.
Luke Tamborinyoka: The Prime Minister’s spokesperson is very approachable.

Fairly accessible
Saviour Kasukuwere – Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister

Francis Nhema – Environment and Natural Resources minister
Herbert Murerwa – Lands and Rural Resettlement minister
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo – Water Resources, Development and Management minister
Henry Madzorera – Health and Child Welfare minister
Webster Shamu – Media, Information and Publicity minister
Kembo Mohadi – Home Affairs minister
Ignatius Chombo – Local Government Urban and Rural Development minister
Obert Mpofu – Mines and Mining Development minister
Giles Mutsekwa – National Housing and Social Amenities minister
Lucia Matibenga – Public Service minister
Joseph Made – Agriculture minister
Olivia Muchena – Womens’ Affairs Gender and Community Development minister
Douglas Mwonzora – The MDC-T spokesperson needs to be reliable.

Sometimes he switches off his phone for long periods and does not honour appointments. He should be a man of his word and give factual and credible information, something he has failed to do on several occasions.

Accessible only to certain journalists
Tendai Biti – Finance minister
Elton Mangoma – Energy and Power Development minister
Nicholas Goche – Transport and Infrastructure Development minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa – Defence minister
Accessible when it suits
Tapiwa Mashakada – The Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister used to be one of the most accessible leaders in the MDC-T but this suddenly changed when he was appointed minister.
Nelson Chamisa – Information Communication Technology minister
Gorden Moyo – State Enterprises and Parastatals minister
Theresa Makone – Home Affairs minister

Least accessible
Sydney Sekeramayi – As State Security minister we assume it is due to the nature of his ministry
Gabbuza Gabuza – The Public Works minister is not helpful at all.
Paurina Mpariwa – The Labour and Social Welfare minister ducks and dives and gives the impression she knows little about the goings on in her ministry, and always refers questions to junior officers.
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi – The Foreign Affairs minister refuses with his cellphone number. He even claims that he does not give his number to relatives. Thankfully there is Ambassador Joey Bimha in his ministry; otherwise there would be a complete blackout of official information.

Rarely asked to comment
Heneri Dzinotyiwei – Science and Technology minister
Sithembiso Nyoni – Small and Medium Enterprise and Cooperative Development minister.

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