By Kondwani Magombo
Minister of Information Communications Technology, Henry Mussa, has challenged government Public Relations Officers (PROs) to tell the public about various developments government has achieved in various Ministries, departments and Agencies.
The minister made the appeal on Friday when he opened a workshop for the PROs and public sector spokespersons at Nkopola in Mangochi.
Mussa said the current performance of the PROs and public spokespersons was leaving government developments in the dark and he called for improvement in the next five months.
“I asked the President, Prof. Peter Mutharika, ‘why sending me to head another ministry when we only have five months ahead of us?’ and his answer was very candid: the president said ‘we have been in government for four-and-a-half years but nobody knows what we’re doing’,” said Mussa.
“This means that as PROs and spokespersons, we have not performed,” he continued. “There are a lot of developments happening in government ministries, departments and agencies but we are not talking about them; so it’s like we’re smiling in the dark and nobody is seeing us to appreciate our smile.”
The minister said he was very passionate to see the public sector spokespersons and government PROs talk about such developments through various media channels other than just through the public broadcaster, MBC.
Public Relations Society of Malawi (PRSM) executive member, Herbert Chandilanga, who represented the Society’s president, Lewis Msasa, commended Missa for the workshop saying it would bring on the table challenges they were facing and find solutions to the same.
Chandilanga described the minister’s appeal as “very crucial and very important feedback given government as a very important stakeholder”.
The PRSM executive member, who is also PRO for Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST), said the Society would use the feedback to prepare its members to work harder than they are currently doing to reach the expected levels.
Other speakers at the workshop included the Principal Secretary for Ministry of ICT Erica Maganga and Secretary for Department of Human Resource management and Development (DHRMD), Hilario Chimota, who made a presentation on PROs conditions of services.
According to Chimota, the post of PRO in government was established in October 2012 for the purpose of creating room for publicity of developments taking place in MDAs among other things.