POST Cabinet briefings that were introduced by the Second Republic have significantly helped in keeping the nation abreast with Government decision making and killed speculation that existed in the past, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said.
Giving the keynote address at the recently held Davos World Communication Forum in Lusaka, Zambia, early this week, Minister Mutsvangwa said post-Cabinet briefings give cues to the nation on how to respond and act on Government decisions.
“We introduced it (post Cabinet briefing) to make sure that the nation as a whole can pace with Government decision making. It gives cues to the general public on how to respond and act to various Government policies and initiatives. It keeps citizens on the same pace and vibe with Cabinet, as well as with each other in various sectorial activities.
Before, Cabinet would meet and the nation was kept in darkness. The rumour mill prospered, journalists reported even some of the most bizarre and wildest of Cabinet gossip. Social media had a field day often deliberately adding more confusion to a bemused if not traumatized public,” she said.
The three-day Forum brought together communication experts, policy makers, academia, diplomats, private sector, marketers, advertisers, journalists and brand managers from different parts of the world to deliberate on various topics that dealt with “Communication in a Changing World: Challenges and Chances.”
Minister Mutsvangwa who joined her Zambian and Botswana counterparts, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Hon Dora Siliya and Minister of Transport and Communications, Hon Thulagano Merafe Segokgo respectively at the three day Forum added that there is need to adapt to the ever changing world.
“When Covid-19 struck and many of our countries went into total lockdown, we had to find ways of communicating awareness messages, preventative and protective measures and social issues. What worked yesteryear could not necessarily produce the same results today. So the way we greeted, interacted and communicated had to change. Digital Communication was our ready-made solution. And in Africa we had the demographics for it.”
She added that communicators had to be ingenious in reaching their audiences as the threat of fake news has grown due to increased access and use of social media, highlighting that as a way of increasing the public’s access to information and policy making decisions, the Second Republic under His Excellency, President ED Mnangagwa had introduced the Post Cabinet Briefings.
The Zimbabwe audience rating for the Post Cabinet briefings in both print and electronic media is one of the highest, demonstrating that citizens are eager to hear and engage with their Government on governance issues.
The importance for transparency and interactive communication between governments and citizens was further highlighted by the World Communication Forum Vice President, Solly Moeng. Moeng whose team has successfully rebranded various international organisations and countries, urged African countries to stop branding themselves as poor nations. He pointed out that as a continent, Africa should move away from negative branding on the internet.
Zambia became the first African nation to host the Davos World Communication Forum, as the Swiss based organization turns its eye to Africa.
Officially opening the Forum on Tuesday, 24 November 2020, Zambia’s Vice President, Hon Inonge Wina, highlighted that digital communication had made information sharing universal, especially through social media platforms. She emphasized the need for traditional media to adapt to the changing world in order to survive as it was under threat from new media. VP Wina emphasized the need for citizens to use new media in a manner that communicates and creates positive national brand.
“The impact of digital communication on our privacy, society and the economy is a source of concern. Social media has totally rebranded nations across the globe. Unfortunately, most of the rebranding that has occurred is in the negative; for example, nations that where hitherto known as beacons of democracy have been rebranded to something different. Our own country, Zambia, which has flown her flag since independence, under the peaceful nation brand has been rebranded to something different. If you search on any country what will appear is the brand. That is what the entire world is seeing and not what its nationals know it to be.”
The Davos World Communication Forum recognizes communications as a key factor in humanity’s development and believes that Africa is the new frontier given its young growing population. Africa has the fastest growing population in the world. Its population is expected to increase by roughly 50% over the next 18 years, growing from 1.2 billion people today to over 1.8 billion in 2035. In fact, Africa will account for nearly half of global population growth over the next two decades.